Microsoft is rolling out a new February update to its Xbox consoles that adds one of several planned sustainability updates and Google Home app support.
With the update, Xbox consoles are able to be “carbon aware” of when to perform game downloads and updates by connecting to the internet and checking for regional carbon intensity data. Microsoft says it will schedule updates during the nightly maintenance window for times that result in lower carbon emissions because more available electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources.
While the blog post encourages gamers to “choose what works best for you,” Xbox hasn’t yet rolled out the one-time switch pushing users to the “Shutdown (energy saving)” setting that uses significantly less energy compared to keeping it in Sleep mode all the time. It does mean a slightly longer boot process when you turn on your system, but Microsoft is also going to add new active hours settings that put your system into the fast-booting Sleep mode during the times when you’re more likely to play or want to access it remotely.
You’ll also be able to start using the Google Home app as a touch remote control for Xbox consoles starting today. Remote features include powering on / off consoles, navigation, play / pause, the ability to record game clips, and volume controls.
Finally, the Xbox February dashboard update also includes a slight tweak to the Home UI to let you hide game art on the homescreen. Microsoft has also added a quick way to see recent parties in the dashboard. Initially, this is rolling out slowly to a “random subset of users.”
Correction February 15th, 7:14PM ET: An earlier version of this story said the one-time power switch and new active hours settings are rolling out. In fact, they have not been released generally yet. The sustainability options in the February update are the new “carbon aware” downloads. We regret the error.