Xbox has announced at GDC 2023 that it’s now the first console platform to give game developers access to dedicated tools to measure the energy and carbon emissions of their projects.
The company says that, as part of an ongoing commitment to sustainability in the gaming industry, it’s tapping into the expertise of game creators to not just reduce power consumption from a hardware perspective (like it’s doing with new power saving modes for Xbox consoles) but to look at it from a game design point-of-view as well. To that end, it’s introducing the Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit.
The Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit will allow developers to use precise feedback and analytics to determine when and where energy consumption can be reduced in their games without it negatively impacting the player experience. Using these, developers will be able to consider things like thermal load, frame rate, pixelation, latency, the size of assets they need to upload, or how frequently software updates are released all in order to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the games they create.
Xbox says that it’s already working alongside studios from Ubisoft, and its own 343 Industries, to measure the impact of their games and lay the foundations for incorporating energy emissions and carbon awareness into their game design philosophies.
As an example, 343i discovered that on an Xbox Series X running Halo Infinite at 4K/60FPS, the average GPU usage was about 92%, which represented an average power consumption of 67.5%. The studio noted that, even when the game was paused and blurred to display the settings menu, a 4K image was still rendered in the background that a player could not see, so by lowering the resolution in the Pause menu, 343i was able to decrease energy usage by 15% with no negative impact to the player experience.