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Xbox will force gamers to power down to fight climate change, touting the first 'carbon aware console'

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Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Microsoft announced in a recent news post that it will force gamers into powering down their Xbox consoles in order to fight climate change as part of the company's campaign for "building a more sustainable future of gaming."

The company announced its intention to become a "zero waste" company by automatically switching gamers into "shutdown mode" to conserve energy. Microsoft also claims that if two gamers use their proposed power-saving method for a year, it is the equivalent to planting one tree.

The company's environmental impact goals consist of "being a carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste company by 2030."

"Microsoft is rolling out an update to Xbox consoles starting today that will automatically switch them to a power-saving Shutdown mode, instead of the usual energy-hungry Sleep mode," said tech website Ars Technica.

For most consoles, a "sleep mode" means that the machine puts out minimal energy but is still able to download, charge peripherals, and keep the users' games open to where they last left off.

The gaming console will also schedule updates and maintenance at specific times that the company claims "may" help reduce carbon emissions.

"Your console will wake up at a time when it can use the most renewable energy in your local energy grid," the post claims, adding that soon all gamers will be able to update their systems so that the "Xbox console is carbon aware."

Microsoft claims that the energy-saving shutdown mode will use up to 20 times less power than the sleep mode, however it will eliminate the ability to remotely turn on the system and overall will take longer to turn on.

The Xbox will allegedly save the same amount of carbon as one tree, but only if two users shut down their Xbox for at least 20 hours per day for an entire year:

"Every small step we take has larger collective impact – and choosing shutdown (energy saving) can have real, meaningful impact. For example, for every 2 consoles that switch to Shutdown (energy saving) for one year, we will save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by 1 tree planted and grown for a decade."

If users want their consoles to boot up with a usual response time, they will have to set "active hours" in their system settings; otherwise it will automatically enter the eco-centric power-saving mode.

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