Xbox One Devs Can Now Shut Off Kinect, Free Resources

Xbox One Devs Can Now Shut Off Kinect, Free Resources

Kinect for Xbox One

Xbox One devs will now be able to utilize that extra processing power previously reserved for the Kinect.

If you've been following Microsoft's Xbox One, you'll know that the Kinect quickly went from "integral part of the system" to "optional extra" since the console was first unveiled last year. As a final nail in the coffin of the camera, Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison has told Game Informer that Xbox One developers can now shut off the Kinect's functions completely - making use of the processing power that was previously reserved for the camera however they see fit.

"The simple summary is that we've put those choices in the hands of the developer, rather than being reserved by the system," Spencer said. "We think that's the right balance." This of course means that simple Kinect commands such as "Xbox - record that" or "Xbox - go home" won't work at all if developers decide to utilize the extra resources elsewhere.

When returning to the home screen, those resources will be returned to the camera, but it also means that you won't be able to snap functions like Skype if a developer chooses to shut them off.

"It will give up to 10 percent more performance, and developers are already telling us that it's having a material impact on their gameplay and game visuals," Harrison says. "Our committment is to continue to do that. It's not just a one-time thing. Our platform engineering teams will continue to eke out every bit of performance they can, handing that over to the developer as efficiently as possible."

10 percent more performance is always welcome for a machine that is really struggling to hit that 1080p/60fps benchmark on newer titles. I feel kind of bad for all of you guys who got the Xbox One at launch, now that Microsoft seems intent on completely abandoning the Kinect.

Source: Game Informer

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Yey...
It will help, but... wont save Xbox One.
To be fair though, PS4 is also having a hard time hitting and keeping 60fps 1080P...

Coming soon: XBOX One, the "Are you fucking happy NOW?!?" edition... :p

Seriously though, while this is all well and good, they're still working on making it a slightly shittier PS4. Sure, they're getting there, but they have yet to provide a reason to buy an XBone over the PS4. I don't really care, I'm on the PC, but if I were to buy a current gen console, it would be the PS4. Granted, the PS3 managed to somewhat turn things around during its life cycle, but it didn't have to deal with this much baggage...

"We were wrong, but we are not going to openly admit it."

- Microsoft.

OT; Will the extra 10% really allow games to go from 720 to 1080? Or would they just use it to make the 720 run better?

So disabling the best feature of the X1 (as they said since launch) is today a selling argument...
Wow !

008Zulu:
"We were wrong, but we are not going to openly admit it."

- Microsoft.

Not only that but companies uses of the word commitment is really starting to tarnish it for me. After they have burned through all of their commitment, what will be the next catch all term for connecting their fake smiles with their hollow promises and shallow expression of being on the consumer's side while doing whatever the chart says will make them more money?

For better or for worse for the consumer.

From the start, the Kinect has been the albatross around the XBox One's neck. And to think, if they had learned their lesson from the 360 - that there was very little interest in the Kinect in the first place - and not tied their new console to it's dead weight, we might actually have had an interesting console race. As it is, MS is just doing damage control at this point since the notion of outselling the PS4 has already waved bye-bye a long while ago.

Bad decision on Microsoft's part, as eloquently stated by Saulkar above me.

Look, being able to record everything or snap Skype or whatever, on all software on the platform... that's a really cool thing, and something that they invested heavily on. It may not have been the right decision for the market but you have to stick to your guns or nobody is going to trust you in the future. All of these policy reversals are the sounds of Microsoft panicking, and it doesn't inspire a lot of consumer confidence in your product if even YOU can't get behind what you've made!

This is how the conversation has gone:

Consumers: "Hey Microsoft, that Kinect is slowing down your games so I'm going PS4 instead."
Microsoft: "Oh you don't like the Kinect? Ok, um... well let's get rid of that so games will run a bit faster."
Consumers: "Thanks but the PS4 is still faster. Sorry."
Early adopters: "Say what now? You mean all those functions you promised I could do with the Xbox One are now going to be "functions I can do IF the developers say so"? Fucking weak, man. Thanks for the $100 paperweight, jackasses."
Microsoft: "Oh no, we're totally still going to support the Kinect!" *winks to Consumers*
Early adopters: "Hey, we saw that!"

And that's just embarrassing. This is how the conversation should be going:

Consumers: "Hey Microsoft, that Kinect is slowing down your games so I'm going PS4 instead."
Microsoft: "Thanks for the feedback - we really appreciate it! Here at Microsoft we're committed to delivering unified gaming experience, so at the moment we're asking developers to reserve a certain amount of horsepower in order to ensure exclusive Xbox One features like x, y and z are present and consistent across all our software. We're continuing to work both with developers and in house to minimise the impact the features have on performance so that we can continue to bring crisp, beautiful looking games to the system."
Consumers: "I guess it's not as fast as the PS4, but I do like those features - particularly z - so maybe it's worth some minor graphical infidelity. I also hate inconsistent user interfaces, like with open source programs/devices or how Nintendo left it up to developers to implement off-tv play functions rather than coding a "hold L and ZL and swipe down to go to off-tv mode" function into the OS itself. So fucking annoying..."
Early adopters: "I knew the extra $100 was worth it!"

"The simple summary is that we've put those choices in the hands of the developer, rather than being reserved by the system," Spencer said. "We think that's the right balance."

If they truly believed that was the right balance they would have done that in the first place. No dice microsoft you've insulted your potential customer base far too much to just forgive and forget, especially with no apology on your end.

Frostbyte666:
"The simple summary is that we've put those choices in the hands of the developer, rather than being reserved by the system," Spencer said. "We think that's the right balance."

If they truly believed that was the right balance they would have done that in the first place. No dice microsoft you've insulted your potential customer base far too much to just forgive and forget, especially with no apology on your end.

What "we've put those choices in the hands of the developer" boils down to is Caesar saying "I wash my hands of it." What MS is saying is "Yes, we promised that the kinect was integral, but we've laid it at the feet of the developers as to whether or not they will use it. So even though you bought it because of what we said, don't get mad at us if the developers choose to not use it, and end up screwing over a lot of the functions that we touted. That's now, legally, on them, not us. They can use it if they want. If they choose not to, hey! We made it there for them to use. It's not our fault that they didn't."

It's bullshit. They're passing the buck.

WHen the ability to turn *off* a core feature becomes a selling point. YOu know you screwed your design up.

So come tomorrow will every game* download a patch to turn it off?

(by which I mean every game that doesn't need it to function, obviously)

BigTuk:
WHen the ability to turn *off* a core feature becomes a selling point. YOu know you screwed your design up.

Microsoft spokesperson: Kinect stays at the core of our Xbox vision, thank you very much.

So will developers now be required to put "NO Kinect Support" stickers on the cases so customers won't try to use voice commands during gameplay?

Because that would be awesome.

MinionJoe:
So will developers now be required to put "NO Kinect Support" stickers on the cases so customers won't try to use voice commands during gameplay?

Because that would be awesome.

'THis game will turn off your Kinect' -stickers would probably double the sales of any game.

Once again early adopters are left feeling bitter. There wasn't even a mention of the Kinect at their E3 conference, not one word. They would seem to have taken the thing behind corporate HQ and quietly shot it. Which leaves the point: The Kinect should have been optional in the first place especially if it takes up a portion of the game's resources. Most developers DO NOT want to shoehorn Kinect into their games.

It's like they've made two blunders in a row for no reason. First they make an overly expensive, underpowered system that no one really wants to buy then they row back on all their justification for it leaving you with the sour feeling that the Xbone was how it was, not because of some vision Microsoft had, but because they thought they could get away with anything they felt like.

DRM and always online systems that were 'integral' to the system. Buckled almost instantly under consumer pressure.
Kinect requirement. Gone almost overnight less than a year into the lifecycle.

Microsoft says it "HAS" to do certain things but it turns out it is simply they "Want" to screw you as much a possible for the simple reason they can. The "Need" to charge for Xbox Live is in the same boat for me. If enough people kicked up enough fuss it would disappear over night.

This is hilarious, just the audacity and and flimsy excuses and dodges is very entertaining.

From what it looks like they assumed no one would ask questions and/or they truly believe the camera was a good idea and was banking on making a high profit margin with the first batch then latter on make the cameraless consoles... but it didn't go according to plan and where forced to issue consoles without the device early in a feeble attempt to please the complainers and hope people ignore/forget their initial BS they tried to sell.

I doubt it's like that but it makes more sense than what MS has been doing XD

This is hilarious, just the audacity and and flimsy excuses and dodges is very entertaining.

From what it looks like they assumed no one would ask questions and/or they truly believe the camera was a good idea and was banking on making a high profit margin with the first batch then latter on make the cameraless consoles... but it didn't go according to plan and where forced to issue consoles without the device early in a feeble attempt to please the complainers and hope people ignore/forget their initial BS they tried to sell.

I doubt it's like that but it makes more sense than what MS has been doing XD

Steven Bogos:
"It will give up to 10 percent more performance, and developers are already telling us that it's having a material impact on their gameplay and game visuals,"

If Engadget is to be believed, the XBone CPU speed is 1.6 GHz on 8 cores. I'm not going to do the math right now, but if turning that little camera off gives a 10% performance boost, that's quite a bit of processing power reserved for their not-mandatory-anymore peripheral.

That's really screwed up.

10 percent performance boost? is Xbox Done really that weak or was kinect software that badly optimized? voice control on my PC does not even reach 3% of usage, and thats when its actually actively listening and processing what i said.
then again, its likely that my CPU is actually 3 times faster consdiering Xbox uses a mobile CPU

10% of a modern octa-core processor to listen for simple voice commands? Thats insane! I know its not super powerful but still.

Lets hope they use that to try to get games running at a decent resolution at 60FPS but i bet you they use it for slightly higher res textures and to fire more brightly colored bloom into our faces.

I think i will just stick with my pc thanks then i can turn off whatever i want whenever i want.

I wonder if turning off skype will make my games run 10% faster? HEy then they will run at 66FPS at 2k instead of 60 :P

Wow, devs can turn kinect off? It will probably only get them 2-3 FPS in a performance boost

 

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