Xbox One GPU Performance Upgrade Explained by Microsoft, Doesn't Eliminate Kinect

Unplugging the Kinect doesn't automatically ensure more power

By Andrei Dobra on June 17th, 2014 09:28 GMT

Microsoft has explained a bit more the recent Xbox One GPU performance increase that's been rolled out earlier this month, saying that it doesn't specifically eliminate the Kinect features, as it just provides a more flexible memory system for the graphics portion of the chipset.

The Xbox One came out last year and almost immediately it became clear that the console's performance in terms of graphics isn't on the same level as the PS4, as games were lagging in terms of resolution or framerate.

With the June update to the Xbox One devkit firmware, Microsoft has allowed developers more access to the GPU, meaning they can use the extra power to improve the resolution, like Bungie did with Destiny, or the framerate or specific visual effects.

However, there's been a lot of debate over how the performance increase was achieved, as some believed that, by unplugging the Kinect, that extra power would automatically go to the game.

Microsoft's Ken Lobb talked with Eurogamer and set the picture straight, saying that it's all due to a new, flexible memory system.

"Lots of people ask, 'So, you're taking back the GPU reserve for Kinect. Well, does that mean I can't say, 'Xbox, record that?' No. You can always say that," he said.

"You have more GPU, so go ahead and use it how you want. It's more GPU plus more bandwidth to the GPU, so they both matter. So for some games it might be resolution, it might be frame-rate, or it might be, let's throw in more enemies."

Audio commands will always work in games if you have a Kinect, but titles that don't support the sensor will see the gesture controls or the visual recognition features become unavailable.

Microsoft's Phil Harrison also chimed in to state that Microsoft is just doing something natural for a console, as it's optimizing the operating system to give game developers more access to its resources.

"Our job as a platform is to make sure we give fans the features that make their gaming experience better, and to give developers the tools to make the most of our chipset. We have to do both of those in balance," he said.

"Many developers will use that performance benefit to enhance and improve the graphical look or resolution or frame-rate of a game. As other developers get their hands on the libraries in the next days and weeks, that will become tangible and impactful in games that ship this holiday."

As such, you can expect to still use the Kinect for Xbox One games that take advantage of the increased GPU power.
The Xbox One has more GPU power for developers
   The Xbox One has more GPU power for developers
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