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New Kinect-free edition unlocks memory bandwidth reserved for Microsoft's camera sensor

Given Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) supply struggles, sales struggles, and privacy concerns regarding the Xbox One's "Kinect" video and audio sensor, it's perhaps unsurprising that Microsoft decided to at last offer a cheaper ($399) SKU of its console without the sensor.  Now that decision has brought about an interesting twist -- Xbox One users who ditch the Kinect may be able to enjoy better graphics performance.
It turns out that Microsoft's always-on sensor reserves as much as 10 percent of its graphics hardware's memory bandwidth and processing resources for watching its user(s).  Comments a Microsoft spokesperson to Eurogamer:

Yes, the additional resources allow access to up to 10 per cent additional GPU performance.  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.

According to Eurogamer and The Verge, Microsoft will for the first time be allowing game developers to use these freed up resources to enable special "Kinect-free" enhanced graphics settings.  While that's good news for Xbox One gamers, it also adds an interesting extra nuance to an already heated debate.

Xbox One Kinect

Microsoft's Xbox One has trailed its rival Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) console after committing a number of missteps, including initially planning to use DRM to ban used games and threatening to make users' consoles unplayable offline.  While it later recanted on each of these controversial terms, the console has continued to struggle through a number of controversies.  To add insult to injury, Sony recently announced that its rival offering, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) was already profitable.
Nonetheless it has moved millions of units and isn't too far behind Sony's PS4 in lifetime sales.  Microsoft has remained very committed to its console, releasing a major update in April.
The future of the Xbox One should be elucidated at next week's 2014 E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), which is being held in Los Angeles, Calif.  Stephen Elop, the new executive vice president of Microsoft Devices (which makes the Xbox), is expected to present his vision for the future of the console along with new Xbox chief Phil Spencer at Microsoft's Monday, June 9 press event.

Sources: Eurogamer, via The Verge, Microsoft

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RE: Options
By Reclaimer77 on 6/5/2014 1:24:31 PM , Rating: 0
The best option is to allow developers choose whether or not their game supports Kinect

Microsoft probably doesn't like this option, because deep down they know hardly any developers would bother and the Kinect would be a dead end. A peripheral without a purpose.

This is just more evidence of how utterly inferior Microsoft's design of the Xbox One is. It's conceptual flaws can't be ignored. The decision to use slow system RAM for everything is like a chain reaction, negatively affecting the whole end-result.

Something isn't right with the design when you can get substantial gains like this just from turning off the Kinect. Or visa versa, such a sharp performance penalty from using it.

RE: Options
By inighthawki on 6/5/2014 2:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure actually that that's the ONLY way it can work. You cannot rely on the user or OS to dynamically change the value, otherwise the performance and consistency of the game can suffer from what the developer wrote their game to support. This would have to be an option at the developer level.

RE: Options
By Mitch101 on 6/5/2014 2:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
Have you considered going somewhere else?

Why dont the negative one comments you receive on every Microsoft thread not indicate to you your unwanted in the comments?

RE: Options
By Reclaimer77 on 6/5/14, Rating: 0
RE: Options
By Mitch101 on 6/5/2014 4:57:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yup at some point if they don't get rid of you Ill make a clone of DT and make it a reclaimer free zone.

RE: Options
By Makaveli on 6/5/2014 6:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
I enjoy reading reclaimers post he sometimes post things with a clear and more level head some of you. But bro you need to do a better job of not getting caught in these troll nets.
Sometimes tho the way you escape them does give me good entertainment for the day =)

And yes this place would be different without him posting regardless of some of the hates saying other wise.

RE: Options
By inighthawki on 6/5/2014 8:06:06 PM , Rating: 2
I enjoy reading reclaimers post he sometimes post things with a clear and more level head some of you

Sorry I had to wipe a tear from my eye. Too funny...

RE: Options
By Alexvrb on 6/5/2014 11:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Now to be fair when his hackles aren't raised in defense of his Precious (there's a story about a pot and a kettle in there somewhere), or when he isn't engaged in a huge tussle with someone... then I could probably agree with that statement.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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