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Read the Game Developer team's GDC 2023 coverage here, including Talk writeups and interviews from the show, as well as our favorite GDC Vault videos covering 2023 Talks.

The new Xbox sustainability toolkit will help devs become energy conscious

The Xbox Developer Sustainability Toolkit will help developers curb their carbon footprint.

Chris Kerr

March 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Key artwork for sustainability, with xbox logo

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.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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