Today’s electronics are more powerful and capable than ever before, but these features come at a cost. The Xbox One can be turned on simply by uttering the phrase, “Xbox On,” and gamers are greeted with a console which is up to date and ready to game. Gone are the days of pressing a button on the console to power up then waiting through updates and downloads. This next generation of consoles has been engineered to get gamers to their games and reduce waiting time.
While this is all known to most Xbox users, what may not be known is the hidden cost of these features. Previous generations of the Xbox would turn completely off and draw a negligible amount of power. Today the Xbox One and the PS4 rest in a connected standby mode which allows them to download and install updates while they are idle. The Xbox One also has the ability to be activated by voice which requires the voice processing functions to be active and listening.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) the Xbox One is too wasteful and Microsoft needs to change the defaults to make “instant on” disabled. In nations where power consumption issues are more a priority, Microsoft has disabled “instant on” by default. Gamers everywhere can disable the feature to reduce power consumption, but most will probably not do that. Microsoft has offered the following statement to the NRDC regarding the Xbox One’s power levels:
“We designed Xbox One from the ground up to maximize computational power per watt,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We have a scalable architecture, which means it uses only the computing capacity needed for a task. When it’s ready to respond to ‘Xbox On’ it uses about 12 watts, and in its lowest power state, Xbox One uses a ½-watt. We encourage our fans to visit Xbox Support for written instructions on setting their Xbox One power mode.”
Essentially, users can change the settings if they want, but this device is designed for modern users who expect updates to be done silently and who doesn’t want to wait. New devices offer new experiences and those experiences may come at some cost, consumers can choose what devices they want and if these features are important to them or not. The Xbox One also could serve as a replacement for several other devices in a stereo cabinet, such as any Apple TV, Roku, Google TV, DVD players, BluRay players, and cable boxes in countries where the TV tuner is available.
In the end consumers choose how they spend their money and how they want to configure their devices. Microsoft offers their Xbox One users a choice either low power consumption with limited features or full features with more power usage. Microsoft has also not been totally closed to the idea of making their console less power hungry, and since launch Microsoft has reduced the “instant on” feature from 18 to 12.5 watts. Also this is Microsoft’s first iteration of the Xbox One, and while they haven’t announced plans to release slimmer more efficient models, the Xbox 360 saw several iterations over the life of the console.Further reading: Environmental, Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox One