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Xbox ‘Active Hours’ power setting balances speedy access and energy saving

Microsoft is further tweaking the energy-saving options for Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, enabling users to keep the console in Sleep mode during “active hours”.

The test, currently rolling out to Xbox Insiders, is a middle-ground between the current options – the full Shutdown (energy saving) mode and the Sleep options, which enables fast waking and resumption of gameplay.

While keeping the Sleep option active does enable you to get back to the action more quickly, it does consume a lot more electricity than shutting the console down completely. At a time when energy bills are going through the stratosphere, the shutdown option is becoming a lot more attractive.

The compromise Microsoft is now testing is keeping the console in fast-waking sleep mode during the hours gamers are more likely to use it and shutting down the rest of the time. Shutdown (energy saving) uses 20X less power than when the console is in Sleep mode, so it’ll definitely have some perks.

Users will be able to manually schedule the “active hours” so, if they’re a night owl who likes to game during the wee hours, or a gamer who likes an all-weekend session, they’ll be able to configure accordingly. According to Microsoft, the feature will be enabled automatically on the Series S and Series X consoles.

Xbox Active House settings

In a post on the Xbox Wire blog Microsoft explained: “For those that select the Sleep power option, you can now adjust your console’s active hours. Your Xbox will boot quickly and will be available for remote wake during your selected active hours. When your Xbox’s active hours are done for the day, it will fully shut down and will draw 0.5 W vs. 10-15 W while active.”

Elsewhere, Microsoft has announced it is automatically moving all Series X and Series S consoles to Shutdown (energy saving) mode by default. The option, which still enables users to receive updates while the console is essentially off, has been available since March, but plenty of gamers have chosen to stay with Sleep.

Following the update, gamers will be able to switch back to Sleep if they wish, but Microsoft taking the initiative will save gamers money and help cut carbon emissions for those don’t pay attention to the power settings.

The company writes: “Starting today, Xbox Insiders will notice that their Xbox Series X|S consoles automatically update to the Shutdown (energy saving) power option. This one-time update to your power settings will reduce your power consumption while your console is off, and will not affect performance, gameplay, or your console’s ability to receive overnight updates to system, games or apps.”

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