Microsoft has launched a dedicated energy and carbon emissions measurement toolset for game creators.
Breaking the news at GDC 2023, the company said it wants to empower creators and developers to better understand the energy and emissions intensity of their games, and explained that the majority of Xbox's greenhouse gas emissions footprint comes from gameplay electricity.
The Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit will help developers curb their carbon footprint by providing them with analytical and visual systems, measurement tools, and resources designed to help them make informed decisions about energy consumption and carbon emissions.
"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," noted Microsoft.
Xbox Power Monitor Tools
More specifically, the toolkit includes Power Monitor Tools that allow devs to view real-time energy consumption feedback "down to the nearest millisecond." According to Microsoft, this enables the establishment of baseline, GPU use measurement with granularity, and can directly pinpoint energy inefficiencies that can be addressed.
"The toolkit also comes with an API designed to be used by games that have their own profiling needs. Lastly, this can also be paired with the Xbox Series X Devkit’s front panel, which has a Power Load percent value for quick and easy reference during game development," continued the company.
Certification reports will help developers to identify game energy consumption averages specific to most common in-game areas like status menus and loading screens, while power consumption dashboards will offer a "bird's eye view" of the global average of how much energy a game is using relative to the platform average. "The dashboards can show the carbon footprint and total energy consumed during game play and the studio over time," added Microsoft.
Finally, toolkit users will also be granted access to guidance, best practices, and case studies via the pilot program and Xbox Game Dev Docs that will help them carve out a path to more sustainable play.
Creators who want to learn more about the published tools, best practices, and case studies Microsoft has shared can check out Xbox Game Developer Docs and Developer Forums. The company added that anybody who wants to take on a "more active role" by joining the sustainability developer tools and pilot program should reach out to them directly.