The ability to utter that one phrase and turn on your Xbox One is costing you more than you think! About 12.5 Watts to be exact. Noah Horowitz, senior scientist for The Natural Resources Defense Council criticized Microsoft this week for not being as energy friendly as its competitors and being deceptive in their wording for saving energy.
“With today’s technology, there is no reason for a device to be drawing 12.5 watts 24/7 just so it can be ready to receive and install an update,” Horowitz said in regards to the amount of Watts that the Kinect feature uses. “If your cell phone or tablet operated this way, the battery would run out of power almost immediately. These devices receive notifications that updates are available for downloading, often in the background while the device is in use.”
In Xbox’s defense, they write that fans of the console have been calling for the instant on feature since The Xbox 360 was out. The company also touts that since the release of the console in 2013 that they have been able to reduce the energy used to power the “Instant on” feature by a third.
Despite their excuses, Microsoft outlined how they planned to fix the energy consumption problem in a blog, saying that all new users will be given a choice of energy mode upon starting up the console. Horowitz responded to this with praise, but still felt that the startup message was still deceptive in the language that it used to describe each energy mode to users.
The message will ask you what you want to do when your Xbox One is not in use. Below the initial prompt are two options. Energy saving mode, which allows users to save energy while sacrificing quick start times and states that the console will interrupt the user for updates. Or instant on mode, which allows users quick start-up times and will update automatically. Users who have bought the console in the past can change the energy mode by going to settings.
Longer start-up times and being interrupted for updates might seem like a drag to gamers that want to immerse themselves in the experience of a video game, but the fact that the energy-saving mode is able to use a significantly less amount of wattage then it’s the instant on feature, should convince gamers to go with the more conservative and cost effect choice.
Horowitz also used The Wii U console as an example of how far behind Microsoft is when it comes to the energy-saving game, writing that “Microsoft’s competitor Nintendo provides an elegant and effective solution whereby its Wii U game console automatically wakes for a few seconds hourly to check for updates. If an update exists, it downloads and installs it and then goes back to sleep at less than 1 watt. This results in a trivial amount of energy spent for background updates compared to Microsoft’s current energy-guzzling approach.”
While Horowitz issued a lot of criticisms towards Microsoft in his blog post response, he was also very hopeful about Microsoft working to fix the problem stating “We are thrilled that Microsoft’s talented engineers are now hard at work trying to develop user-friendly, energy-saving solutions to these issues and are optimistic the results will be consistent with the company’s historic leadership position on environmental sustainability,” he said. “We’ll report back on the results.”
What is your opinion of the instant on feature for The Xbox One? Are you concerned about energy use when you purchase a console? Will this article cause you to go change your energy settings the next time you start a gaming session? Let us know in the comments below.