Microsoft has released a new February update for its Xbox consoles, which includes one of several planned sustainability updates as well as Google Home app support.
By connecting to the internet and searching for regional carbon intensity data, Xbox consoles can now be “carbon aware” of when to perform game downloads and updates. Microsoft says it will schedule updates during the nightly maintenance window for times when there is less available electricity from lower-carbon sources, resulting in lower carbon emissions.
While the blog post encourages gamers to “pick what works best for you,” Xbox has yet to roll out the one-time switch that switches users to the “Shutdown (energy saving)” setting, which uses significantly less energy than keeping it in Sleep mode all the time. It will result in a slightly longer boot process when you turn on your system, but Microsoft will also add new active hours settings that will put your system into the fast-booting Sleep mode when you’re more likely to play or want to access it remotely.
Starting today, you’ll be able to use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for Xbox consoles. Powering on and off consoles, navigation, play/pause, the ability to record game clips, and volume controls are all available via the remote.
Finally, the Xbox February dashboard update includes a minor change to the Home UI that allows you to hide game art on the homescreen. Microsoft has also added a quick way to see recent parties in the dashboard, which is currently being rolled out gradually to a “random subset of users.”