The Xbox One can automatically detect if it is overheating and can cool itself down to counteract the thermal pressure, according to Xbox general manager of console development Leo del Castillo.
Speaking with Gizmodo, del Castillo said Microsoft can't do anything to prevent users from putting pizza boxes on the Xbox One, but the system is designed to stay cool.
"We can't prevent misuse of the product," del Castillo said. "But we can certainly anticipate it. The way we designed the box, we don't actually intend it to ever have to go to maximum speed under normal environmental conditions. But there is overhead."
The Xbox One can scale back its power usage if an overheating scenario is detected, del Castillo said, adding that such a feature was not possible on the Xbox 360.
"One thing that we have more flexibility with…with the architecture of the Xbox One, is that we can dial back the power of the box considerably," he said. "We had a little less flexibility with the 360. And so basically, if we couldn't dissipate the heat, there wasn't a whole lot of leverage we could pull to keep the heat from being generated, so we had a limited amount of time before it just shut down. Xbox One can actually dial it back to a lower power state, so low in fact that it can [be] in a mode that uses virtually no air flow."
It isn't clear if this lower Xbox One power state is achievable in games, or only in applications and other media functions. del Castillo explained that he isn't sure how a potential overheating scenario will look for users, but said an audio cue like increased fan noise may do the trick.
"I don't know the exact details of how it’ll show up to the user," del Castillo said. "But we try to be as transparent to the user as possible. We'll allow the fan to go all the way up to maximum speed. They might notice the extra noise, and that will help to self-correct the condition."
"If we get to the point where that is no longer enough, we have the mechanism, the interface, to deal with that," he added, though he didn't provide details as to how this would work.
The Xbox One launches in November for $500. Those attending Gamescom next week in Cologne, Germany can go hands-on with the device and some of its upcoming games, like Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome. Microsoft will also announce "exciting news" at the event.