Though the Xbox One is ostensibly designed to never reach dangerously high temperatures, Microsoft can't do anything about people accidentally blocking vents or stashing it in airless AV cabinets. To this end, the entertainment system is designed to automatically detect and regulate its power supply to prevent overheating damage.
“We can’t prevent misuse of the product," Xbox General Manager of Console Development Leo del Castillo informed Gizmodo, "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. So we’ll allow the fan to go all the way up to its maximum speed and if that solves the condition without the user having to do anything."
In effect, the Xbox One will constantly be aware of its internal temperatures and massively throttle back on its power usage should things start getting hot and heavy. "With the architecture of the Xbox One, is that we can dial back the power of the box considerably, del Castillo continued. "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 in a mode that uses virtually no air flow."
This will doubtlessly come as good news to anyone who's owned more than two Xbox 360s, or spent agonising half-hours voluntarily cooking their console in a towel in a vain attempt to re-melt the solder. For the record, it worked once. For about two hours.