Xbox One consumes $250 million worth of energy a year


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.

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. 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. 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.

Xbox Power Save

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. That is enough electricity to power every home in the nation’s fourth largest city, Houston, every day for an entire year.

On one hand, Sony has fixed a major problem in their latest console, the PS4, by switching off its USB ports once the controllers are fully charged. Needless to say, Microsoft hasn’t fixed the biggest energy sucking source of the Xbox One.

Some progress is being made, but that isn’t to say that it is enough. Microsoft has reduced the power drain from the “Instant On” mode from 18 watts to 12.5 watts, but this mode is a standard default right out of the box and fails to give users the option to disable it during initial setup.

There is an option to do so, however!

Deep in the depths of the menus, users can disable this “Instant On” mode, but few are likely to do so.

Xbox Ones that are purchased in Europe arrive with the power-wasting “Instant On” mode already deactivated by default, but as a convenience gives users the option to enable it during the initial set-up, how nice. Microsoft ought to consider adopting this policy worldwide.

“Instant On” mode once started out as the culprit for nearly half of the Xbox One’s annual energy consumption, it has been reduced by ten percent. Even though that is still a ridiculous amount of energy being consumed for such an easy fix.

Microsoft is trying to reduce its carbon footprint in order to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations. The company proudly boasts about its pledge to be carbon neutral. Perhaps they should devote that same zealous nature towards its energy guzzling Xbox One console.

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. Really begins to call attention to how much energy is actually being consumed if the military is about to get involved.

Even if Microsoft does not implement the choice to opt out of the “Instant On” mode, console users can still save on their energy bills and have the luxury of voice recognition by adjusting power settings so their consoles do not draw unnecessarily high levels of energy, 24/7/365 or (366 in the case of leap years), on standby power.

Here are the instructions to activate the energy-saving mode: go to the Home screen, press the Menu button on the controller, select Settings, then Power and Startup, and select the Energy-saving power mode.

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Loren Mc Clain
Loren Mc Clain 47 posts

Heroes are out; villains have taken over. Lifetime member of E.V.I.L. -- if you don't understand that reference, shame on you --