Speaking to Eurogamer, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that once Kinect is stripped away “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.”
The company declined to say whether it will give the console more 1080p 60fps titles to compete directly with the PlayStation 4 only dancing around the question to say:
“Xbox One games look beautiful and have rich gameplay and platform features. How developers choose to access the extra GPU performance for their games will be up to them. We have started working with a number of developers on how they can best take advantage of these changes. We will have more to share in the future.”
The comments follow news that Microsoft will release a new SDK for developers in June to access the additional GPU resources previously reserved for Kinect. Microsoft clarified that developers would have to make use of the SDK and it wouldn’t simply be a matter of unplugging Kinect from existing consoles and suddenly receiving a boost in performance.
“Accessing the additional GPU resources is done by the developer, and how developers choose to access the extra GPU performance for their games is up to them,” it confirmed.
While the boost could be good news in the Xbox One’s battle with the PlayStation 4 to be console top dog, it is likely to be bad news for Kinect. The innovative motion controlled system has long been labelled as a breakthrough technology in need of an actual use and with developers marginalising its use up to now it appears far more likely that they will prefer to access more raw horsepower than design a secondary control system.
All of which means Microsoft really does look to have short changed existing Xbox One owners. Having asked them to stump up a $100 premium over the PS4, which it admitted was due to the cost of integrating Kinect, the company will now sell a new Kinect-less Xbox One for the same $399 asking price as the PS4.
So if any developers were unsure whether to integrate Kinect from now on or just take the extra performance, the fact the biggest selling version of the Xbox One is likely to be the SKU without Kinect should make up their minds for them.
Which ultimately begs the question: why oh why didn’t Microsoft just make the Xbox One a little more powerful in the first place…