Microsoft is Considering Energy Efficiency Features for Xbox Games

Posted on November 7, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Games, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Xbox with 2 Comments

At a time when millions of people across the world are bracing for rising energy costs, Microsoft wants to know if Xbox gamers are concerned about the power consumption of their consoles. In a new survey that can be found on the Xbox Insider Hub (via Windows Central), Microsoft is asking Xbox gamers if they could be interested in in-games that could save energy.

In one of the questions, Microsoft asks “how would you feel about having in-game features that can optimize settings to save energy if you toggled them on?” The company gave adjusting resolution, frame rate, visual effects, or GPU usage as game settings adjustments.

In another question, the company asked gamers if they would be interested in “individual games automatically lowering frame rate or resolution when the game is left idle or inactive (to save energy).” In other questions, Microsoft asks gamers if a game having energy savings features could impact their purchasing decisions.

These are definitely interesting questions, even though consoles like the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X just consume a fraction of the power of a high-end gaming PC with a dedicated GPU and a 1000W (or more) power supply. To put things in context, Nvidia’s RTX 4090 has a power draw of 450W according to Tom’s Hardware analysis, and that’s just for the GPU. In comparison, Microsoft says its Xbox Series X consumes 153W during gameplay, and that decreases to 74W for the Series S.

Many Xbox games now offer the choice between Performance and Fidelity modes, though the impact of these different modes on power consumption isn’t obvious. It would certainly be nice if game developers could provide more information about power consumption in their games, as it’s not clear if Microsoft could implement energy-saving features at the system level.

What Microsoft can do, however, is to revise its Xbox hardware to reduce power consumption. Back in September, Sony launched a third PS5 revision to optimize manufacturing costs. This wasn’t something that Sony communicated about, but this revised PS5 model is lighter thanks to a more efficient cooling system, and it also draws less power than the 2 previous hardware revisions.

To our knowledge, Microsoft hasn’t done something similar for its Xbox Series X|S consoles. However, the company already has a really power-efficient console with the Series S, which consumes just a little more power than the Xbox One S from 2016 during active gameplay. If you’re concerned about the energy consumption of your console, the Series S is the best choice among current-gen consoles, assuming we don’t take the Nintendo Switch and its ARM-based SoC into account.

Would you like to see energy-saving graphics modes on Xbox games, or do you think this isn’t worth the effort for game developers? Sound off in the comments below.

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