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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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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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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