Changes made to the way Microsoft’s Xbox One console manages its own power will save real people, real money. At least that’s according to Microsoft itself, which revealed major new changes to the console;s power settings for most users.
Microsoft announced that it’d surreptitiously been improving how the Xbox One manages power in a post on its Xbox Newswire blog late last week. The Xbox One is Microsoft’s all-in-one entertainment console. It’s a video game console, a media streamer for those who don’t have cable and a way to improve the cable experience for those that do have cable.
The company is changing a bit of its set-up process to put the control of the Xbox One’s power states directly in the hands of players. Power states are the different modes that console can run in. In doing so, the company is hoping to find some middle ground between giving users the modern features they need and using as little energy as possible, which makes sense giving the fluctuating cost of energy prices.
Instant-On is the power state that most people have their Xbox One console set on today. Instant-On allows the Xbox One to stay connected to the internet to download the latest app and software updates. The power setting is also how powering up the Xbox One with the Kinect and having your games automatically download works. Microsoft says its engineers have reduced the costs associated with Instant-On mode by a third, saving users even more per year.
There’s also an Energy Saving Mode that effectively acts as the console’s off button, letting users only spend between $6 and $15 in power costs per year, according to Microsoft. Energy Saving Mode effectively serves as the console’s Off,with now background tasks or features available for users. Even when the Xbox One is on it’ll uses just about the same amount of power as the Xbox 360 since it only draws the power it needs depending on the task at hand.
All new Xbox One buyers of the next few months should see the option to change their console’s default power state during the setup process. Presumably, people who reset their console and are forced to go through the setup process again will see the options to customize their default power settings too. It’s worth noting that a switch for changing the default power state has always been available in the Xbox One settings app. It’s listed on Power & Start Up. Again, changing your power state could mean that you lose the console’s advanced updates system.
Energy savings isn’t exactly a hot-topic among gamers and entertainment lovers, but it really should be. Both the Xbox One and Sony’s PS4 are designed to be complete media machines. Years ago a video game console was something you connected to your television’s extra ports and turned on for a few hours a week. Microsoft and Sony want you to keep these latest consoles on as long as possible. Both offer unparalleled access to movies, music and now live streaming television. The longer more video you consume on these consoles, the more likely they are to replace your cable box entirely. The Xbox One in particular is designed to stay on for very long periods of time. It has a pass-through port that overlays its interface on top of that of the cable provider, providing users with access to any channel they want with just a voice command, snap multitasking for playing a game and watching a movie at the same time and more.
The Xbox One is on sale at most retail stores and Amazon now, beginning at $349.