Print 22 comment(s) - last by joba78.. on Jan 10 at 3:16 PM

Is the sensor accurate enough for more resolution to matter?  (Source: Microsoft)
Four times as much data could mean a slower system

Microsoft rolled out the Kinect accessory for the Xbox 360 back in November to rather lukewarm reviews. However, sales for the accessory have shot through the roof. The billions the company spent in ads for the console have wooed many gamers to try the device and the modding community has also caught onto the fact that the Kinect is massively hackable to do all sorts of things.

Right now, the resolution of the sensors used by the Kinect to monitor the player's movements is limited by the firmware to 320 x 240 at 30 frames per second. Since the resolution and all the features of the device are driven by firmware, upgrading the resolution and feature set of the Kinect is as easy as updating the Xbox dashboard.

Microsoft's Kinect team is working to increase the resolution of the depth sensor used to 640 x 480. If the update happens, the increase to 640 x 480 would effectively quadruple the accuracy of the sensor and allow the sensor the resolution needed to detect finger and hand rotation.

The reason the resolution wasn't cranked up by Microsoft to begin with was to allow for multiple USB devices to be used at one time. The USB controller interface inside the device is capable of 35MB/s but only uses about 16MB/s of that bandwidth.

Eurogamer reports that Microsoft is at work on a fix to get more bandwidth for the device. Microsoft had not given official comment on the story to Eurogamer. However, Rich Leadbetter from Digital Foundry said that such an update is "eminently doable." He also said, "[Microsoft would need to] disable or lower throughput of game installs running from USB flash drives to free up additional bandwidth."

However, if Microsoft did increase the resolution there is a question on how accurate the sensor will be. The other caveat is that processing four times the number of pixels could slow the system down.

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Xbox 720 and PS4
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 10:11:51 AM , Rating: 5
I think 3D and peripherals like the Kinect have given Microsoft and Sony reason to push new consoles out the door.

Obviously there is still room for improvement on graphics but I think most would say graphics at this point are good enough and look great. But I think the next generation of consoles will try to focus on pushing out 1080p graphics in 3D at 60 FPS while using a device like the Kinect.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By Anoxanmore on 12/20/2010 10:39:06 AM , Rating: 4
One more step in the direction of a holodeck.


RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 12:00:52 PM , Rating: 3
My thoughts exactly. Course I think we're a bit far from using force fields to bend light and create 3-dimensional moving objects that feel like the real thing. Not to mention smell generation and solving that whole "We're actually only in a 50x50 foot room" thing.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By Alexvrb on 12/22/2010 8:07:32 PM , Rating: 2
My face hurts from running into the holodeck walls all the time, but it's worth it!

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By Mitch101 on 12/20/2010 11:12:58 AM , Rating: 4
I wonder what percentage are Wii owners. I would seem to me if you bought a Wii in the first year or two the X-Box with Kinect would be like buying the next gen console.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By Alexvrb on 12/22/2010 7:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
LOL good point. What looks outdated to 360/PS3 owners ready for a new console, looks truly next gen to a former Wii owner. :D

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By carniver on 12/20/2010 1:10:43 PM , Rating: 3
NO. Bringing out a new console just for 3D controls would be way too much risk either company shall take. The current consoles has been out for less than 10 years, their capabilities are still sufficient for current-gen games.

Dumping the current console for a new one means discarding the current installed user base, and will likely disappoint many existing owners. A user base is hard to establish. Even with the significant hype of PS3 at launch, Sony has only been able to establish significant marketshare not too long ago. Same goes to Microsoft, they had a year of headstart compared to Nintendo and Sony, but still they had to spend a money in many years of advertising and incentives to slowly establish their current installed user base. Even Nintendo is seeing a significant decline in their sales nowadays.

One wrong move and you're gone, pun intended. If Sony dumped PS3 now, Microsoft will grab at least half of their users. And vice versa for Microsoft.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 2:50:58 PM , Rating: 2
I wasn't saying motion only controls. Just that the console will likely be designed with the horsepower to handle 1080p graphics in 3D and a motion controller if the user has one. Currently the Kinect will be limited in the kind of game it can be used to the full extent with. Graphically intense games are already pushing the 360 to the limit. Trying to add processing of motion controls into say Gears of War 3 would probably require reduced graphics.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By titanmiller on 12/20/2010 8:51:30 PM , Rating: 2
Have you downloaded 3dMark11 yet? The current state of the art graphics are insanely beyond anything that the current consoles could ever hope to push out. My personal opinion is that the next gen consoles should wait until they can fit something akin to a 2048 core Fermi at a reasonable cost.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By FaaR on 12/21/2010 7:36:48 AM , Rating: 2
A 2048-core Fermi at reasonable cost is a decade-long wait for sure. We can't do HALF of a Fermi yet at reasonable cost (meaning, fit to put into a cheap consumer device like a console), and with silicon processes becoming ever more complicated, it's going to be quite a while until 400% of a fermi will be cheap enough for that.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By Hiawa23 on 12/21/2010 10:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, it would not make good financial sense for MS & Sony to rush new hardware out anytime soon, especially Sony with the huge cost associated with the PS3, & barely 4 years old, & Ms just did a redesign ont he 360. I love both consoles & I am fine with each consoles graphics, & in this bad economy, 9.8%unemployment, much higher in individual states, there is noway I would even consider buying another platform, & the whole 3D craze, MS & Sony would be fools to release new consoles just for that when at this point 3D Tvs cost way to much for the average consumer & most of us don't even care for 3d movies, or games. There is noway the masses are going out to buy 3D tvs in this economy so to me what MOVE & Kinect has done for MS & Sony is bought them more time & will extend this generation which I am totally fine with. Like I said the graphics I am fine with both consoles so far this gen, & if you are not, then grab or update your PCs as I don't expect to see a new platform form MS or Sony atleast in the next 1-2 years. Nintendo needs a new platform but Sony MS doesn't, IMO.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By slashbinslashbash on 12/20/2010 3:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
I know, and this is especially the case since both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 run on more-or-less commodity hardware. Doubling or even quadrupling the power of the GPU's in either one, without changing the fundamental architecture, should be cheap and easy. Think about it... these things are on par with a 7800GTX (in the PS3) and X1900 (in the 360). Bump that up to even a midlevel modern GPU such as the GTX 260 or 5770 and we're talking a serious upgrade! Same with bumping up the RAM/VRAM from the puny 512MB they've both got. Give the CPU's a few more cores, give 'em maybe a 25% clockspeeed boost, and voila! A completely compatible upgrade for the 360/PS3. ALL the old games will work on it with no emulation whatsoever... and they will run faster, smoother, and in higher resolution. It would be a super easy transition for developers too!

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By FITCamaro on 12/20/2010 4:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
The architectures of the 260 and 5770 are drastically different than the 7800 and X1900 series. That's not to say it wouldn't be far easier to get old games running on new hardware if both companies stick with the same graphics chip manufacturer.

In my crystal ball I'd say Microsoft will stick with AMD for graphics but change to a new processor since there's no real upgrade for what they have now. I'd say Sony though will attempt to go with two or three Cell processors. Possibly try to do the graphics all on the processors.

RE: Xbox 720 and PS4
By priusone on 12/20/2010 8:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
While I understand why your feel 3D HDTV's and awesome peripherals will drive the need for PS4's and Xbox 720's, it seems as though the market is changing in such a way that the next generation of consoles, excluding the Wii2, are still years away.

Innovating new ways to draw in new customers is far cheaper that designing, manufacturing and promoting new consoles.

And as far as pretty graphics in correlation to a 4x increase in Kinect sensor resolution, compromises can be made to accommodate the additional processing that will be needed. After all, Wii graphics look like an original Xbox. Personally, I hate having to make sure the Wii-mote is pointed at the sensor bar, so can't wait to try out a Kinect game.

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