Xbox’s Strange Power Saving Climate Change “Controversy” Explained

Written by on January 25, 2023

Microsoft’s Shutdown feature will also change how the Sleep mode works via selectable “Active Hours.” As the name suggests, this addition will let users select what times of the day they plan on using their consoles. During these hours, when the Xbox is put to sleep, it will still update apps, start up faster, and draw 10-15 watts. But outside of those hours, Xboxes will fully shut down and only use 0.5 watts. Consider this new, updated Sleep mode a hybrid of the two existing power modes.

If all goes according to Microsoft’s plan, this new feature will help the company become carbon negative (i.e., remove more carbon gasses from that atmosphere than it emits) by 2030. That goal includes a recent Windows 11 update that made Windows Update carbon aware.

How to Use Xbox’s New Power Saving Feature

Currently, the Power Saving Feature is only available for Xbox Insiders, but soon all owners will be able to take advantage of the carbon-aware options. When the feature is ready, just update the console from the “Updates” menu in the “System” tab in the Settings menu. Alternatively, turn on active updates in the menu (the “Keep my console up to date” option), and you won’t have to keep checking.

Once the update rolls out, the new modes will be available in the Power options menu, which is accessible in the “General” tab of the Xbox’s Settings menu. Gamers will also be able to change their console’s Active Hours from that menu. Furthermore, the update will include the option to set the Active Hours to “always active” so the console never turns off.

Why Is Xbox’s New Power Saving Feature Controversial?

On the surface, Microsoft’s plan sounds like a good, fairly unobjectionable idea. As previously stated, the less energy a console uses, the lower its carbon emissions. Even if this new feature doesn’t lower CO2 gasses by that much, it can still help save money on your electricity bill. So what’s the problem? According to a vocal minority, it’s all part of a ploy to make Microsoft go “woke.”

After Microsoft announced the power saving update, several sites and some larger Twitter accounts took up arms against the company. All of these sources have one thing in common: they are operated by hardline conservatives. Right-wing outlets such as The Blaze and Fox News reported on Microsoft’s announcements, and when the Young America Foundation’s Twitter account retweeted the news, it added the claim that a “woke brigade” was coming for your video games. Remarkably, Fox News hosts took the time to echo that sentiment during a segment on the subject. Some even added the tried and tired claims that gamers don’t have jobs or partners and still live in their parents’ basements.

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