As part of Microsoft’s goal to be carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030, its gaming console division Xbox is working towards reducing its carbon footprint through research, innovation, strategic investment, and accountability. Xbox is looking at ways to use less new plastic, minimise waste and reduce its carbon footprint.
The company has released a collection of controllers that contain 20% or post-more consumer recycled resins. The newest controller is the Xbox Remix. This controller is made from recycled plastics and includes the company’s leftover Xbox One generation controller parts. The old parts are reground and mixed with virgin plastic to make the controller. The post-consumer plastics used to make the new controlled include CDs, plastic water jugs and automotive headlight covers.
The company started incorporating post-consumer recycled resins into its controllers in 2021 when it introduced the Daystrike Camo and Electric Volt controllers. The Remix Special Edition is the first to include regrind (a term for ground industrial plastic waste) from other controllers. The controller also includes a rechargeable battery pack, allowing players to move away from disposable batteries.
Another way Xbox is reducing waste is by offering refurbished consoles. The consoles undergo a rigorous certification process and are tested to confirm they are working correctly and are inspected for hardware and cosmetic quality. This is an excellent alternative to buying brand-new consoles.
Xbox has also announced that they are the first to release dedicated energy and carbon emissions measurement tools designed for game creators. When the console is plugged in and connected to the Internet, and if regional carbon intensity data is available, Xbox will schedule game, app and OS updates at specific times during the night that may result in lower carbon emissions. The console will wake up and perform maintenance at a time when it can use the most renewable energy in the local grid. The company also considers updating consoles to the Shutdown (energy-saving) power mode. The Shutdown can cut power use by up to 20x when it is off compared to Sleep.
Another energy setting update is the “Active hours” setting which will allow the console to boot up and be available for remote wake during the selected active hours. It will fully shut down once the active hours are over.
Xbox also introduced their Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit, which includes analytical and visual systems, measurement tools, and resources to help creators make informed decisions about energy consumption and carbon emissions associated with their game designs. The Toolkit includes energy consumption feedback, certification reports, dashboards that show the carbon footprint and total energy consumer during gameplay, guidance, best practices and case studies.
Xbox is taking important measures to reduce its impact and is leading as an example to other game console companies. At the rate they are going, they will reach Microsoft’s carbon goals by 2030.