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Xbox One’s ‘Instant On’ Mode Costs Gamers $250 Million a Year says Environmental Group

by Kyle Hanson


Xbox One owners, how many of you use the “Xbox on” voice command to turn on your console, or enjoy how it does updates in the background while it is “turned off”? Many of you likely do, but according to a blog by National Resources Defense Council member Noah Horowitz you might want to reconsider. This is because, according to Noah, the use of this feature and the Instant On mode that it requires, gamers are stuck with an extra $250 million in extra electricity charges annually.

Gaming consoles have long been known to be energy hogs, as the NRDC puts it: “Last year an NRDC study looked at the energy use of the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U (the energy sipper of the three) and found these three gaming systems alone might come to consume as much 10 billion to 11 billion kilowatt-hours (KWh) annually in the United States, alone–enough electricity to power all the homes in Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, for a year. That’s also the equivalent output of four large power plants, and their associated pollution.”

The problem, according to Noah, is that the Xbox One utilizes its Instant On feature by default in North America, not even presenting new owners with the option to disable it. This means that at all times the console is using around 12.5 watts of power. This is not true for Xbox One’s purchased in Europe, which have the feature disabled by default, offering owners the option to turn it on upon first start up. Considering the fact that this feature accounts for nearly 40% of the total power consumption of the Xbox One, disabling it could go a long way toward saving consumers money and helping conserve energy.

For those that prefer being able to start up their console using voice commands Noah has one more recommendation. “Users can save on their energy bills and still use voice recognition when the console is on by adjusting power settings so their consoles don’t draw unnecessarily high levels of standby power 24/7. To activate the energy-saving mode, go to the Home screen, press the Menu button on the controller, select Settings, then Power and Startup, and select the Energy-saving power mode.”

What do you think about this topic? Is Noah and the NRDC exaggerating the problem, or should Microsoft try everything they can to save gamers money? Will you be adjusting your power setting due to this report? Let us know in the comments below.

- This article was updated on:March 7th, 2018

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