Microsoft has apparently built Xbox One to know when it's overheating and be able to do a couple of things about it.
One thing is to rev the fan up to maximum speed - a speed it should never need "under normal environmental conditions", Leo del Castillo, Xbox general manager of console development, told Gizmodo.
Should those conditions become extraordinary for some reason - perhaps something is obstructing the Xbox One heat vents - then "there is overhead" for the fan to rev up. "We'll allow the fan to go all the way up to its maximum speed and that [should] solve the condition without the user having to do anything," del Castillo said.
If that doesn't work then Xbox One can go a step further and dial back the source of the heat - perhaps the CPU or GPU sweating its bits off.
"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," del Castillo noted.
"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."Leo del Castillo, Xbox
"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 [run] in a mode that uses virtually no air flow."
How this will work in practice while you're playing a game or watching a film is something del Castillo doesn't yet know. "We try to be as transparent to the user as possible," was all he could say.
He hopes the fan revving to maximum will alert you that your Xbox One is running hot and you will attempt to rectify the problem.
Worst case scenario: "If we get to the point where that is no longer enough, we have the mechanism, the interface, to deal with that."
Gizmodo said that meant some kind of pop-up or banner alert, which sounds intrusive, but it's better than a piece of lead-free solder becoming brittle and cracking and you seeing a red ring of death. And it's certainly better for Microsoft than an embarrassing billion dollar repair bill.