Right wing leaders are big mad that Xbox is “going woke,” slamming an optional feature meant to reduce the console’s overall carbon footprint as an effort to “recruit kids into climate politics.”
On Tuesday’s episode of “Fox and Friends,” Fox News anchor Ainsley Earhardt and radio host Jimmy Failla fumbled through a short segment about Xbox’s latest effort to allow players to curb power consumption. It was as level-headed and chill as you might expect Fox to be when the topic of climate change comes up.
New Xbox consoles will incentivize players to opt in to the more environmentally friendly “Shutdown” mode by offering more of the same features that “Sleep” mode currently allows, including automatic background updates for games at strategic times throughout the day that would result in lower carbon emissions. Shutdown mode consumes less energy than Sleep mode, and for select players in Xbox’s Insider program, the Shutdown option will immediately become the new default. Neither of these modes is new, but only some players have had access to these features until now. It will become available to all Xbox users in the coming weeks.
But that didn’t stop Fox News from presenting this as some conspiratorial effort to make kids “woke.”
“It’s crazy what they’re doing, but we understand what this is,” Failla said. “It’s not that it’s actually going to offset emissions. The level of reduction is infinitesimal. But they’re trying to recruit your kids into climate politics at an earlier age. Make them climate conscious now.”
“You’re right, they’re going after the children,” Earhardt agreed.
They are not going after the children.
For one, the majority of gamers who will be making the decision for their Xbox to consume less power will be adults, since the largest demographic of gamers in the U.S., 36 percent, is actually between the ages of 18 and 35. Gamers under the age of 18 make up just 24 percent of the audience.
“But again, what’s the point of video games? It’s for kids to be kids,” Faila says. “Now you sit down and pick up a controller and they’re like ‘by the way, the world is on fire, AH.’ You know what I mean? You just want to play the game!”
Well, also no.
In actuality, the option to change how much power your Xbox consumes is found a couple of menus deep in the system’s settings page. Players who go looking for it will find that the new settings page features more information about the system’s energy usage; consoles in energy save mode use just 0.5 watts while off, compared to 13 to 15 watts in sleep mode. So, not only are players who choose energy save mode helping the environment, they’re saving a few bucks on their electricity bills.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz predictably jumped into the fray, tweeting that the “woke leftist” crowd was now going after Xbox.
Once again, no, and Republicans are giving this minor change way too much credit. For players, the only noticeable difference will be the console’s boot time: Xbox’s on Energy saver mode can take up to 20 seconds to start, while those using sleep mode can start up the console instantaneously.
Xbox claims that the power saver mode can have a real “meaningful impact” when used collectively.
“For every two consoles that switch to Shutdown (energy saving) for one year, we will save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by 1 tree planted and grown for a decade,” a blog post about the feature reads.
The new feature is just the latest in Microsoft’s ongoing sustainability effort to become carbon-negative, water positive, and produce zero waste by 2030. The Xbox’s new power features, which Xbox has been rolling out since March 2022, as well as its decision to package products and accessories with recyclable material, are all part of this larger effort.
Republicans have found plenty of non-issues to get outraged about in the last few weeks. First, they tried to convince people the Biden administration was coming for their gas stoves. In actuality, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, an entity independent from the White House, simply alluded to the possibility of a federal ban in the far future, due to the dangers they pose to American homes. Republicans also balked at the idea that coffee production and consumption have a negative effect on the environment.
Then, earlier this week, the Mars corporation announced that the anthropomorphic M&M’s that some Republicans definitely aren’t attracted to are being replaced by comedian and SNL alum Maya Rudolph. And they’re not handling it well.
Xbox did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Fox News segment.
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