As part of its sustainability efforts, Xbox is now the first console platform to offer dedicated energy consumption and carbon emissions measurement tools for developers.
In a Microsoft Game Dev Blog post following an announcement at GDC, Microsoft admits that the majority of Xbox’s greenhouse gas emissions footprint comes from gameplay electricity.
The new tools are designed to allow developers to see the real-time energy consumption of its games in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
Many game developers are already aware of the methods they can employ to reduce energy consumption, such as thermal load, frame rates, latency, frequency of updates and more. Xbox is seeking to empower those developers.
“Team Xbox listened, and we are now empowering game developers by providing development tools, global energy and emissions data, and title or studio-specific data insights that will connect purpose to Innovation,” reads the blog post from Trista Patterson, Xbox director of sustainability.
“The Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit 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 helps developers to leverage precision engineering feedback to help identify and reduce energy consumption in scenarios when a player doesn’t need it, thus ensuring the player experience is not negatively impacted.”
That toolkit includes the ability to view real-time energy consumption feedback, compare with industry averages, view dashboards of analytics, and view guidance and best practice from Xbox Game Studios.
Both Ubisoft and 343 Industries are using the toolkit. In particular, the Halo developer was Xbox’s first case to engage in A/B experimentation to reduce energy consumption and managed to reduce energy usage by 15 percent by lowering the resolution of the game’s Pause menu.
This new toolkit is part of Xbox’s sustainability efforts – most recently an update for Xbox consoles made them “carbon aware” by optimising updates and download times to when renewable energy is used.
This followed a survey for Insiders on energy consumption features they’d like to see.