Microsoft could help stop Xbox and PC gaming from chewing through energy

Xbox Series X console
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Would you deliberately run games on your expensive console/PC at a reduced performance? That’s the question Microsoft wants to answer, as it debates adding new energy-saving features to Xbox and Windows games. 

Windows Central (opens in new tab) reported that the plans for reduced graphical fidelity and performance have appeared in a recent survey in the Xbox Insider app on Windows. The survey reflects Microsoft’s desire to offer players a less energy-taxing option compared to running games at full tilt, as well nodding towards its stated net zero carbon goal by 2030.

Some of the individual questions seem like common sense features, such as “In general how would you feel about individual games lowering frame rate or resolution when left idle or inactive?” Whereas another will need more consideration from players, positing the option of “having in-game features that can optimize settings to save energy if you toggled them on.” 

Gamers will likely be reluctant to inhibit a game’s performance while they are playing, especially with the best Xbox games and the best PC games constantly competing to one-up each other in terms of graphics. But in trying times where energy costs are rising, then needs must. 

Microsoft’s survey specifies that energy-saving measures could include altering the resolution, frame rate, visual effects, and graphic card's performance output. The exact energy and carbon saving extent of these potential measures is unknown. Nor whether reducing a game's performance could really slice a significant amount from your energy bill. 

But as long as such option remain ‘opt in’ they will be appreciated. As winter continues to set in, such energy-saving measures could not be more timely with heating bills reaching all-time highs.

It’s a strange time when one of the largest companies in the world is looking out for our wallets but it’s a welcome recognition of the problem from Microsoft. While a survey doesn’t hold any guarantees, were these features to come into effect they would help gamers keep on playing without hitting their energy consumption and bills too hard. 

Andy Sansom
Trainee Writer

Andy is Tom’s Guide’s Trainee Writer, which means that he currently writes about pretty much everything we cover. He has previously worked in copywriting and content writing both freelance and for a leading business magazine. His interests include gaming, music and sports- particularly Formula One, football and badminton. Andy’s degree is in Creative Writing and he enjoys writing his own screenplays and submitting them to competitions in an attempt to justify three years of studying.