Xbox February update adds carbon-aware downloads and home screen customization

The Xbox February update is here…to save the earth!

In a blog post, the company announced that the Xbox February update is available now for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One owners. The update includes a number of new features, but the big one is the new energy-saving option.

Xbox says that both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S now have the option to offer “carbon-aware game downloads and updates,” which will use “regional carbon intensity data” to update your console or download game updates at carbon-optimal times.

Xbox is now the first console to offer carbon aware game downloads and updates. When your console is plugged in, connected to the internet and regional carbon intensity data is available, Xbox will schedule game, app, and OS updates for your console at specific times during the nightly maintenance window that may result in lower carbon emissions because a higher proportion of electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid. This decreases fossil fuel dependency and CO2 emissions and could potentially save you money.  

The company says that “for every two consoles that switch to Shutdown (energy saving) for one year, we will save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by one tree planted and grown for a decade.” So, save that carbon and choose Shutdown mode now!

Saving the planet isn’t the only thing contained in the update. The system will now also allow you to hide game art on the Home screen. I personally love having game art on the Home screen but, if you don’t, you now have the option to switch it off.

Some players find game art distracting or prefer a more simplified background while navigating their Home screen. With this new feature gamers can hide game art so it will no longer replace the Home background each time you move to select a game tile. Instead, the Home background will always remain the solid color of your choice.

Microsoft and Google, while going head-to-head in the AI wars, continue to work together in other areas. Now, users can use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for their console.

Since 2019, you’ve been able to control your Xbox console using voice commands with Google Assistant. Today, we’ve partnered with Google so that you can use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for your Xbox console. Now, when you add your Xbox console to your Google Home app, you’ll be able to easily turn your console on and off, navigate on-screen, control media playback, and more. You can use the Google Home app to command your Xbox like you do for other Smart Home devices.

The Xbox February update is available today. The update comes as the company continues to overtake the cloud gaming industry and faces an uphill battle to complete its acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

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