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How Microsoft’s Xbox is offering gamers a way to fight climate change

Microsoft revealed a power-saving feature for its Xbox console that it says will help gamers fight climate change. It’s a sign of things to come for Big Tech.


Republicans’ contrived outrage over the Biden administration’s promotion of climate-friendly stoves has me thinking about how unprepared they are for the realities of our high-tech future

Because climate-conscious appliances and devices aren’t going anywhere

Humans’ continued obsession with technology — whether that’s stoves or blockchain platforms to trade goods or high-powered game consoles — is terrible for the environment. 

Merely producing these things often requires mining for resources, as well as an assembly process that leaves a major carbon footprint. But the energy to run these things, multiplied across the millions of people who use them, really adds up. 

That’s why I was intrigued by this article in Ars Technica, about Microsoft’s recently announced changes to its Xbox gaming console that the company says will make it more eco-friendly. 

The changes, Microsoft said Wednesday, “will create opportunities for our collective community of gamers to make choices to reduce environmental impact while gaming.”

Essentially, the company is rolling out a power-saving feature that will allow a console linked to the internet to read local energy consumption data provided by the user’s nearest power grid. The console then uses that data to schedule Xbox updates and maintenance for times when the most renewable energy is available.  

Microsoft claims this “decreases fossil fuel dependency and CO2 emissions” and makes Xbox the first “carbon-aware” gaming console. Now you can fight climate change while updating “Elden Ring” or the game of your choice.

I should add the caveat that while it’s great that Microsoft seems to be embracing the “green gaming” movement by helping people take climate measures, Microsoft’s data centers still require a lot of power to runThis isn’t Greenpeace we’re talking about here.

That said, it’s encouraging to me that gamers are being ushered into the fight against climate change this way. Tech enthusiasts of all sorts will have to take note and follow suit. Embrace climate consciousness — don’t cower from it like Republicans evidently wish you would. It’s the only way lofty dreams of a high-tech world can be realized without Earth literally going up in flames.