We've known for some time now that 10% of the Xbox One’s graphics processing unit was reserved for the Kinect. Now that Xbox One is being shipped without the Kinect, that 10% can be used for something else. But how does it actually work? What can we actually expect? What features are going to be compromised?
In a chat with Eurogamer, Microsoft Studios Ken Lobb explained what this means for the players, and also assured current Kinect owners that they will not suffer any compromise in voice control and game capture despite the changes.
Lobb explained, "Lots of people ask, 'so, you're taking back the GPU reserve for Kinect. Well, does that mean I can't say, 'Xbox, record that?' No. You can always say that. If someone says, 'Xbox record that,' it will work on 100 per cent of the games, if you have a Kinect."
He revealed that Microsoft has implemented a flexible system which allows to moderate the GPU and RAM based on what the user wants to do. This means that just because you don’t have a Kinect, it doesn’t mean you have more RAM. It is just that the operating system has been optimized to allow “flipping back and forth”.
He further explained, that it will listen to the user some of the time, "and then pulling back if it's needed for a frame to go, he said, 'record that,' go record this thing. And you have to count for that whether you're using Kinect or not. But you get the full memory and the full bandwidth."
But eventually it lies in the hands of the developers. If they create a game where Kinect has no involvement, the gesture and visual recognition will be disabled till the game is closed. For now there is promise in this. According to Bungie they have been able to increase the resolution and fps of the Xbox One version to match that of the PS4. Maybe this will finally allow Xbox One to close the performance gap it had from the PS4.