Microsoft’s decision to unbundle Kinect from the Xbox One has been controversial among Xbox fans who worry that Kinect will never reach its full potential if developers believe that Microsoft has lost confidence in it. As it turns out, some of their worries might be justified.
Kareem Choudhry, Microsoft’s director of development for Xbox software engineering, has revealed that the next big Xbox Development Kit update will give developers the ability to make their games even better, but only if they’re not designed to work with Kinect.
“Previously, 10% of the GPU was reserved for system level processing which included Kinect-related skeletal tracking data,” Choudhry explains. “With this change, titles that are not using skeletal tracking with Kinect can choose to use that portion of the system reserve for other purposes. We have also optimized the entire system so that titles have access to 100% of the Xbox One GPU for increased resolution and graphical effects.”
There is a downside to this, of course — Choudhry notes that “Kinect Depth and infrared sensors which enable biometric sign-in skeletal tracking, controller pairing, etc. will no longer work for these game titles” if they choose to get the additional GPU power. That said, we still get the feeling that many developers will be happy to forsake Kinect if it means they can deliver more gorgeous graphics at higher resolutions.