As technology improves, so does the incredible capabilities that the Xbox Series X/S and PS5 consoles have. Sadly, some reports have recently come out that the next generation of gaming consoles could also have some potentially dangerous side effects on the environment.
As detailed by the National Resource Defense Council, the popular Xbox Series X “instant on” feature could prove to be costly for the world due to the amount of total energy it would consume, which could reach the high millions. The feature alone would essentially be the equivalent of keeping a large coal-burning power plant on. Not only that, but the function would also produce millions of tons of carbon emissions annually.
Currently, the Instant On feature is pre-selected everywhere on gaming consoles, except for Europe. Noah Horowitz, a senior scientist at the National Resource Defense Council, has suggested that Microsoft should remove the Instant On feature as the default option for gaming consoles. And that by switching this off for all of the consoles, Microsoft could save the world a ton of money from unnecessary energy costs.
The Instant On setting in the Xbox Series X is a standby feature that allows gamers to turn on their consoles in just under five seconds, versus the usual 10 to 15 seconds. This, in total, would drain about 9-10 kilowatts of power every day when it isn’t in use. In the United States alone, it would cost about an extra $500 million if even just two-thirds of the consoles kept this setting on.
While the difference in energy costs might not seem like much to some people in the grand scheme of things, all gaming consoles around the world already consume well over a billion dollars of electricity. Luckily, this sort of issue can be easily fixed in the form of some sort of console update from Microsoft or Sony. Considering that every kind of technology in general, even outside of gaming consoles, will take up more power, it is important for the world to take every precaution it can.
If there are never any regulations put on Sony or Microsoft, then the world will succumb to its own mistakes. Dr. Ben Abraham, from Sydney’s University of Technology, also believes that big tech companies need to make commitments to be environmentally responsible so that their consoles can be carbon neutral. Hopefully, both the big corporations, governments, and consumers can all find a reasonable compromise to game happily while also keeping the planet safe for everyone.