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The Xbox One might be costing us millions of dollars a year – here are the details

Xbox One Standby Mode

If you’re like me, then you appreciate the convenience of having a standby mode on your new consoles. It means you’ll never be more than a few seconds away from jumping back into Halo 5 or Forza Horizon 2. In fact, with the Xbox One, it’s as simple as saying the phrase “Xbox on”… but there is a downside.

Last week, Noah Horowitz of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a piece on his blog which claims that Microsoft is costing Xbox One owners hundreds of millions of dollars every year by leaving the Instant-On power mode as the default power mode out of the box.

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“Although Microsoft reduced the power drain from its ‘Instant On’ mode from 18 watts to 12.5 watts, the mode is still the default when it comes out of the box and the user is not even given the option to disable it during the initial setup,” explains Horowitz.

If you want your Xbox One to power off entirely, you’ll need to navigate a few menus and find the power mode option. Interestingly, Instant-On is off by default in Europe, giving users the option to turn it on during the initial setup, but that policy hasn’t reached the United States and other territories.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how bad it can really be. After all, its low-power state must be fairly well-regulated by Microsoft, right?

Not according to the NRDC.

Horowitz says that the Instant-On mode is responsible for 40% of the annual energy consumption of the Xbox One. With over 7 million Xbox One consoles in the United States, you could see how that would start to add up. And add up it has — Horowitz says that if everyone with an Xbox One turned off Instant-On, we could save a collective $250 million a year.

“There is no good reason these devices need to stay on continuously listening for your voice and drawing 12.5 Watts of power even though your device is turned off and you are not home,” Horowitz told Polygon this week. “Microsoft has some of the smartest engineers in the world on staff who should be able to fix this very quickly. Lets hope they are assigned the task to do so.”

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.