How the Xbox One GPU Kinect reserve unlock works

Xbox One

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I have found this article, http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...actually-works

When Xbox One launched, 10 per cent of the console's GPU was reserved for use with the Kinect sensor. But this month Microsoft began selling the Xbox One without Kinect for a reduced price, and to coincide with that unlocked the 10 per cent reserve for developers to use as they see fit.

Some thought this meant that Kinect users would not be able to use some of its features, such as voice control and game capture, but Xbox executives Eurogamer spoke with at E3 last week denied this was the case.

"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," Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb told Eurogamer.

What Microsoft has done is create a flexible system where, according to Lobb, the Xbox One's GPU and RAM "can bounce".

"So if someone says, 'Xbox record that,' it will work on 100 per cent of the games, if you have a Kinect."

If you don't have a Kinect, "it's not like you have more RAM," Lobb clarified.

Microsoft has optimised the Xbox One's background operating system to support "flipping back and forth". It listens to the player sometimes, "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."

It's worth noting that if a developer creates a Kinect-free game, gesture controls and visual recognition features are suspended while the game is running. As soon as you minimise the game, however, all of the Kinect functionality returns.

How games use the extra horsepower will be up to developers, Lobb added. One, Bungie, has already been able to increase the resolution and frame-rate of its game, Destiny, on Xbox One, to hit 1080p30 - matching the PlayStation 4 version.

Other developers, however, might use it differently.

"You have more GPU, so go ahead and use it how you want," Lobb said. "It's more GPU plus more bandwidth to the GPU, so they both matter. So for some games it might be resolution, it might be frame-rate, or it might be, let's throw in more enemies."

The performance enhancements Microsoft has triggered in the Xbox One are all a part of "our platform improvement", Microsoft Studios Europe boss Phil Harrison told Eurogamer.

"The libraries developers get at the beginning of the life of a platform are radically different to the ones they will get five, eight and 10 years later," he said.

"Our job as a platform is to make sure we give fans the features that make their gaming experience better, and to give developers the tools to make the most of our chipset. We have to do both of those in balance."

This new set of libraries are available to developers right now, Harrison said. As mentioned, Destiny is already making use of it. But Harrison expects other games due out in time for Christmas will also benefit.

"Many developers will use that performance benefit to enhance and improve the graphical look or resolution or frame-rate of a game. We've already seen news that Bungie will increase the graphics performance of Destiny. And as other developers get their hands on the libraries in the next days and weeks, that will become tangible and impactful in games that ship this holiday."

Lobb added that he thought the decision to sell Xbox One without Kinect was "super smart", but he remains a big fan of the sensor.

"So, I love Kinect," he said. "To me, it's not the thousand things it does. I record s*** all the time and I say, 'Xbox, on.' So for me, those two things, the hundred bucks doesn't matter for me. For a lot of people it does. And so we've got to give you an option to pick. Do you want to say, 'Xbox, on?' Do you want to say, 'Xbox, record that?' Do you want to dance? No? Then you don't need the device. I think that's super smart."

Lobb pointed to the fact that Microsoft is making significant updates to the Xbox One on a monthly basis - a much faster rate than the company achieved with the console's predecessor, the Xbox 360.

"For me the best thing about what's happening with Xbox, which was in the original plan but we didn't talk about it much, was that we had a monolithic OS [on 360], and now we have an apps OS [on One].

"So what we had was, you updated once a year. We kind of do half updates every year, but we really had a big OS update once a year Now we have it every month. To me that's the best thing about Xbox One.

"Everything else is, that's awesome, I love the games. I just ran out of space, then, now I can plug in a three terabyte drive. Done. It's like, wow, I'm back to 10 per cent. Shopping! We're adding stuff that we haven't talked about. We know what July is. We know what August is. We know what September is. That's the thing I'm most excited about about Xbox, because it's not just the user-facing side of the OS. It's the developer-facing side."

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Very interesting....
Really wish we wouldn't have to be at the game devs mercy on this, I'm sure quite a few titles could do with a memory boost, but then they'd have to invest in reimplementing code and pay for a patch on live....

The announcement that they were getting rid of it was kind of a death knell for the Kinect... I figured at E3 we'd only hear of 3 companies using it... MS themselves (of course), Harmonix and Ubisoft due to their dance titles. Otherwise, no one else is going to chance that a player will have it and more than likely won't invest in new titles for it.

But that's ok, the cameras on mine have been taped over since launch :P

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Really wish we wouldn't have to be at the game devs mercy on this, I'm sure quite a few titles could do with a memory boost, but then they'd have to invest in reimplementing code and pay for a patch on live....

The announcement that they were getting rid of it was kind of a death knell for the Kinect... I figured at E3 we'd only hear of 3 companies using it... MS themselves (of course), Harmonix and Ubisoft due to their dance titles. Otherwise, no one else is going to chance that a player will have it and more than likely won't invest in new titles for it.

But that's ok, the cameras on mine have been taped over since launch :P
Originally Posted by Cormyre
I thought MS did away with the pay patch model a year or so ago. Which is why the amount of games with multiple patches shot way up.
I thought MS did away with the pay patch model a year or so ago. Which is why the amount of games with multiple patches shot way up.
Originally Posted by futiles
Perhaps they did, I've been kind of out of the loop when it comes to the XB systems lol
Been mostly on PC and PS4 here recently *hides*

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They did get rid of the pay for your patch on XBL. With the advent of free to play games, and monthly updates with content to keep those games populated, it was the only way.

As for taking Kinect out and the GPU increase, I don't think it's a death-knell. It is still the best way to get around the system, and there will still be games in development, even if they are just first party games.

I can agree that some of this is attributed to launching earlier than originally intended, I bet they were hoping to launch DX12 and Xbox One at the same time, but with the PS4 reveal, they knew that they had to jump, where the state they are in now is no where near as bad as Sony was launching late and over priced like they did last generation.
Yup.
I love Kinect and while this might not kill it, it's certainly made it so it's relegated to the same crap as last gen. If Developers can't count on it being in the box, they won't develop to it. Or they will develop specifically for it, which is going to be a much smaller audience which means much lower budget games.

Still, I love the voice commands.
Still, I love the voice commands.
Originally Posted by Kaens
Me too, which is why my Kinects are all... connected.

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