Xbox One Without Kinect: Microsoft Confirms Console's GPU Power Boost Is Due To Removal Of Motion-Sensing Peripheral

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Jun 05, 2014 11:57 AM EDT
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News broke yesterday on Twitter via Xbox head Phil Spencer that the new Xbox One development kits would boast greater GPU bandwidth, leading to a more powerful console.

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What Spencer didn't say was where this increased power would be coming from, though it was widely speculated to be freed up by the no-longer-mandatory Kinect. That was confirmed today by Eurogamer, who asked a Microsoft representative if the extra power came from the removal of the motion-tracking peripheral.

"Yes, the additional resources allow access to up to 10 per cent additional GPU performance," Microsoft said. "We're committed to giving developers new tools and flexibility to make their Xbox One games even better by giving them the option to use the GPU reserve in whatever way is best for them and their games."

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The main question is whether or not the extra power will lead to more 1080p, 60fps games on Xbox One, something the console struggles with compared to the PlayStation 4--particularly noticeable for multiplatform titles. Increased fidelity is not a guarantee, however, and Microsoft says it's up to each developer how the extra power is used.

"Xbox One games look beautiful and have rich gameplay and platform features. How developers choose to access the extra GPU performance for their games will be up to them. We have started working with a number of developers on how they can best take advantage of these changes. We will have more to share in the future."

Eurogamer also shares the following statement Microsoft concluded with, explaining their dev kits in general:

"Just as we're committed to making ongoing system updates for our fans to enjoy new features of Xbox One, we're also committed to giving developers new tools and flexibility to make their Xbox One games even better. In June we're releasing a new SDK making it possible for developers to access additional GPU resources previously reserved for Kinect and system functions. The team is continually calibrating the system to determine how we can give developers more capabilities.

"With this SDK, we will include new options for how developers can use the system reserve as well as more flexibility in our natural user interface reserve (voice and gesture). We'll continue to work closely with developers to help them bring great games to Xbox One."

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