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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 retrospooty on 6/5/2014 4:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
"Really why are the two of you here if you dont own an XBox one nor do either of you plan on owning one?"

There are 2 problems with your statement.

1. This is tech news on a tech news site. I am here reading the article and if you look at my other posts that aren't addressing your butthurtness , you will see I am saying this is a great idea. MS is helping the XBO where it needs it the most, memory bandwidth. Good!

2. I will have an XBO, but not the initial $500 at release one. Not worth it to me. I will grab a latter revision in a year or two I am sure.

Now here is what you need to grasp... Much like Win Vista, and Win8, MS made some huge mistakes. But they do always go back and fix it. Win7 came out with a big slapback fixing everything from Vista, and it worked. People loved 7. Same thing with XBO, the always on and must have internet and no used games thing, and must have Kinect? They fixed it all right? But you could never see past people complaining to fix issues, you just see it all as railing against MS like a butthurt fanboy.

I am fan of MS's work . Not all of it, but most of it. Let me ask you this very simple question. If customers dont complain when a company borks it up, how will the company know to fix it? MS Fixed Vista, they Fixed much of the XBO issues, and the are fixing the UI issues with Win 8. How would they have known if the internet wasnt on fire with people complaining? Get some perspective. No one is hating on MS (Except Argon18, that guy REALLY hates MS LOL).

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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