Xbox One consumes $250 million worth of energy a year

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

NRDC: Xbox One’s ‘Instant On’ Feature Costing Gamers $250 Million Each Year.

If you own an Xbox, you’ve likely spent a good amount of time shouting at it. “Xbox On!” you say, over and over, articulating each individual sound in a vain attempt to actually get it to recognize your commands.Microsoft recently released a preview of the Xbox One April update to members of its preview program and now they have released a video showing off some of the new features that will be available in the update.Hot on the heels of Sony‘s PS4 Yukimura update this week, Microsoft Xbox has launched a preview video of what to expect from the April Xbox One system update.A simple change could potentially save America’s Xbox One users up to $250 million annually on their energy bills; however, Microsoft is avoiding making any such changes.

A new report from the NRDC articulates the actual costs, both environmental and financial, of our continued attempts to get Microsoft’s Xbox One to turn on by yelling at it. Firstly, Microsoft has announced that it will now offer dedicated servers for Party Chat, as Xbox head Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb explains in his blog: Parties where players are unable to form direct peer-to-peer connections for party chat will automatically leverage dedicated server infrastructure to relay traffic. Even when your console appears to be off, it continuously draws a significant amount of power just waiting for you to turn it on with a simple voice command. You see, the Xbox needs to remain in a low power state in order to attempt to recognize that command, and this report estimates that it’s costing gamers a total of $250 million a year in electric bills. This poor design feature is an easy fix and despite repeated requests by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Microsoft refuses to solve the problem.

Here’s the report: Although Microsoft reduced the power drain from its “Instant On” mode from 18 watts to 12.5 watts, the mode is still the default when it comes out of the box and the user is not even given the option to disable it during the initial setup. Double tapping the Xbox button on the controller inside the messages app will allow the user to blurt out a few ideas without the need to actually type out the entire message. Meanwhile, just try to wrap your head around how much energy and the subsequent millions of dollars that are being wasted right now, with more than seven million Xbox One consoles sold in North America so far.

In 2014, a NRDC study looked at the energy consumption of the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U, finding out that these three gaming systems might consume as much as 10 billion to 11 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) annually in the United States, alone. But Xbox Ones purchased in Europe arrive with the power-wasting “Instant On” deactivated by default, and present gamers with the choice of turning on this optional feature during initial setup if they really want to. The NRDC points out that each console has problems with energy consumption, but it finds that Microsoft’s box is particularly wasteful in this area. Lastly, there’s also an update coming to the What’s On area, which will showcase more interesting “popular videos, movies, TV shows and game broadcasts,” notes Hyrb.

The report also has some kind words for Sony , which plugged up an energy drain in the PS4 by turning off the USB ports once a controller is fully charged. We’re continuing to test different experiences for preview members in the U.S. and this month, the preview of this feature is being expanded to Canada and the UK as well. And one that Microsoft should adopt worldwide.” While the NRDC is primarily focused on Microsoft, which it views as the greatest offender, the organization is also keeping an eye on Sony and Nintendo.

If that is not enough of a wonder, the Marine Corps is creating a whole new position called the “unit energy manager” for every battalion to patrol for energy waste, including the idling of Xbox Ones and other gaming consoles.

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