Removing Kinect could increase Xbox One processing power

Microsoft VP for devices and studios Yusuf Mehdi signaled that removing Kinect may free up more processing power for games, but still feels that having the Kinect attached is "the premium experience."

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Microsoft's decision to offer a Kinect-less Xbox One starting in June could have an impact on the processing power used for games, according to VP for devices and studios Yusuf Mehdi. Though he insists that Kinect is still a "core component" of the system, he signaled that the system no longer being required to listen at all times could have an impact.

Polygon raised a point to Mehdi brought up by Ben Kilgore, one of the system architects. Kilgore said that the system was always listening, as opposed to Xbox 360, where the game is getting almost all of the power. He was posing this as a good point at the time, noting that the old Kinect on 360 needed its commands processed in each individual game. But now that Kinect is no longer being packaged with XBO, Mehdi says, the system resources devoted to it could change.

"We are in discussions with our game publishers about what we might do in this space and we will have more to talk about soon," he said.

This comes in the midst of several Xbox One games lacking the resolution of their PlayStation 4 counterparts. The trend has led to speculation that Microsoft's console isn't as powerful, and devoting more of the system to games could have an impact. Regardless, Mehdi says that Kinect is still valuable to the company.

"Our view is that the Xbox One with Kinect is the premium experience," he said. "The things you are able to do are pretty magical. I think that (early adopters) are hopefully delighted as well with their usage."

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  • reply
    May 14, 2014 7:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Removing Kinect could increase Xbox One processing power.

    Microsoft VP for devices and studios Yusuf Mehdi signaled that removing Kinect may free up more processing power for games, but still feels that having the Kinect attached is "the premium experience."

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      May 14, 2014 7:17 AM

      That's kind of a stretch I think, kinda like worrying about onboard sound using up too many cycles on a modern pc setup. Between the media(like here) and MSs own, just looks like they are flailing around saying "Look look! We might almost be as powerful as the -ever so slightly more powerful- PS41"

      Get over it, start worrying about putting some stuff on them to play ffs.

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      May 14, 2014 7:19 AM

      [deleted]

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        May 14, 2014 7:35 AM

        THIS5

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        May 14, 2014 7:40 AM

        What I understood was they were going to set up a way where developers could REQUEST that 10% reservation be rolled back. Much like how I understand the PS4 can have a request to free up some of the reserved memory to a game.

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          May 14, 2014 7:43 AM

          [deleted]

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            May 14, 2014 7:59 AM

            It isn't about blind hatred of the device. The Kinect had what five years or so and two consoles to find meaningful uses of it. It hasn't elevated itself beyond being a minor fixture with the voice commands or dancing games. If the Kinect had several well put together first party games this might have been a different story, but as you can see with the Fighter Within and Kinect Sports that hasn't happened.

            I would rather just buy the console by itself for $100 less and choose to buy the Kinect later if they create legitimately quality software for it.

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              May 14, 2014 8:47 AM

              [deleted]

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                May 14, 2014 8:52 AM

                But Kinect already had a significant install base on 360 and still very few worthwhile games materialized. I am not saying that Halo 4 should have been a Kinect game, but you would think a few devs would have been able to make a worthwhile Kinect title with an install base of a couple million sold Kinects. The same goes with the install base of the Xbox One.

                That all conveys the message to me that it is either not possible or at least VERY HARD to make a good Kinect title. If it's that hard then it might just not be worth the invest.

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              May 14, 2014 10:44 AM

              [deleted]

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                May 14, 2014 4:10 PM

                Microsoft really needed to build up a library of titles that utilized it in new and novel ways that are genuinely fun. Instead we got a further iteration of the old Kinect motion controls and better voice recognition. There really needed to be a game to have a WOW factor using before the console even launched.

                Without any kind of leadership the 3rd party developers are left scratching their collective heads as to how to implement kinect support in their game. If there were strong kinect only/assisted games from the start this would be an entirely different story. If Microsoft had shown the device was integral to the console experience their would be less desire to decouple it. This is what it ultimately boils down to it.

                I think the voice recognition is a cool feature but its not worth $100 over the cost of the unit at this point.

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            May 14, 2014 12:15 PM

            They were listening to their retail partners who said we're not going to stock these things in the numbers you want unless they start moving off the shelves.

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        May 14, 2014 8:19 AM

        Everything about this particular console is half-assed

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        May 14, 2014 8:37 AM

        exactly

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      May 14, 2014 7:35 AM

      that guy needs to step away from the limelight immediately. the gesture was good, don't fuck it up by adding on mushmouth talk.

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      May 14, 2014 7:39 AM

      Unless they are going to remove camera based logic from the system reserve for everyone. Then true kinect titles need to account for it out of their game reserve.

      Then it actually can make a difference.

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      May 14, 2014 7:42 AM

      So if you have your Kinect connected with some future games releases they may run slower?

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        May 14, 2014 8:03 AM

        yeah this is a stupid thing for him to say because it's pointless. No developer can count on that extra 10% power.

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          May 14, 2014 10:42 AM

          "Please disconnect your Kinect for an optimal experience"

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          May 14, 2014 2:10 PM

          Depends on whether there's a "shut off the Kinect" software toggle.

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        May 14, 2014 8:05 AM

        I think it's too early to read much into this.

        I would think the game can request some of that reservation power, and the system gives it up with or without a Kinect attached.

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        May 14, 2014 8:15 AM

        It's like the opposite of the N64 expansion memory.

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        May 14, 2014 8:17 AM

        First,, I would suspect M$ would need to patch the XB1 to allow the always on nature of the Kinect to be toggled. This would allow game makers of non-Kinect titles to turn off all Kinect functionality. Going out on a limb, but I suspect the SDK would be modified to allow develoers to either ask or notify players about turning off Kinect functionality. Perhaps providing the ability for users to leave Kinect on, but take a hit in resolution or frames.

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        May 14, 2014 8:24 AM

        Im no computer wizard but I would imagine they could do something like force the connection to the Kinect close and then flush and reclaim that memory and cpu allocation.

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        May 14, 2014 2:12 PM

        The cost is due to skeletal processing. The audio stuff is all on-board the device IIRC. So all this would mean is that devs who don't want to use Kinect gestures don't have to pay for the reservation.

        They stupidly had the reservation there for everyone so that it would be "free" to use and thus not be a barrier. This would just make the reservation opt-in if you actually want to use Kinect gestures.

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      May 14, 2014 8:19 AM

      well, iirc there was mention of a 10% cpu reservation for the kinect. and i seem to remember something about them opening up the option for devs to disable the kinect entirely and use that reservation a few months after release...

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        May 14, 2014 8:26 AM

        I thought the 10% reservation was for more than just kinect. But snapped apps and such too. How does one even snap things without a kinect? I wonder what interface changes are in the works. I'm guessing a bunch. I'm sad. :(

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          May 14, 2014 8:31 AM

          i believe the OS reservation stuff is separate. it's basically a hypervisor and the OS it's it's own VM - it's actually got a really cool architecture - their only misstep was the kinect imo.

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      May 14, 2014 8:45 AM

      I think this is a terrible idea that's just going to lead to more fragmentation of the market. One of the reason the original kinect was always seen as a gimmick was that developers couldn't count on the user having a kinect, so unless a game was specifically made for kinect only (like the dancing games), devs couldn't assume a user would have one, and thus all of the cool things devs could do designing for a controller + kinect had to be a secondary consideration. The reason I was happy that a kinect was included with every XB1 was that devs could assume that everyone would have one, and thus wouldn't have to make any design sacrifices to work with systems that did not have a kinect.

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        May 14, 2014 8:52 AM

        Kinect exists since 2010, there's no killer app/game for it since it was released, and on the Xbox One it's a glorified Siri.

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        May 14, 2014 9:02 AM

        But Kinect had an install base of milions on Xbox 360. While that may not be enough for titles of the nature of CoD, it's still significant.

        But if millions of installed Kinects is still not enough for at least one or two devs with the vision to really give it a crack (on a less than AAA-budget) and show'em, then the hurdles must be significant to overcome for the majority of devs.

        I am sure devs would have become better at coming up with original Kinect concepts if you really, really forced them into it for years, and then we might have seen something truly groundbreaking. But well, you can't do that.

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        May 14, 2014 10:13 AM

        Except games are multiplatform anyway. It's just pie in the sky stuff to think unless a developer gets huge stacks of cash they'd do anything with Kinect anyway, because it would take hiring a whole extra group of people to do it. And they weren't giving out the cash.

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      May 14, 2014 8:58 AM

      Buy the inferior xbox and get the better looking games!

      Makes sense!

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        May 14, 2014 9:35 AM

        This whole decision really pisses me off. I was primarily an XBOX fan. I had a PS3 for the Blu-Ray player functionality and the occasional exclusive. So I bought an XBOX One on day one because it had some unique functionality. Now it is just a less powerful PS4.

        I am going to sell this turd and get a PS4.

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        May 14, 2014 9:40 AM

        I'm sure if they do anything in the SDK to allow this, it will be available to those with and without a kinect hooked up.

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          May 14, 2014 9:46 AM

          Honestly, at this point, Microsoft should just cancel the XBOX One and start working on their next, next gen system. Who is going to buy an XBOX One when it is now exactly the same as the PS4 (but less powerful).

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            May 14, 2014 9:56 AM

            The people that want to play the games that are going to be available only for XBO.

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            May 14, 2014 9:57 AM

            Apparently everyone on NeoGAF who were bitching are going to buy one now.

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            May 14, 2014 10:56 AM

            All the xbox fans that have been waiting for a price drop. A lot of people are hooked on xbox live and don't want to switch to playstation and then as more people get the xbox one the cod people will see their friends on xbox still and get an xbox one as well so I'm sure plenty of people will be picking up an xbox one now. For me at least they are going in the right direction with the xbox one finally. I still have a few more problems with it that I'd like to see fixed and there still aren't any games I'm interested in but I'm sure that'll change in the next year or so. For right now I'm happy with my PS4 though and this should push sony a bit more and help make gaming better for all of us!

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            May 14, 2014 1:59 PM

            How many people outside of a few people (relatively speaking) know which system is more powerful? Not many.

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            May 14, 2014 2:15 PM

            I still use mine more than the PS4. Partially because it has more games, but mostly because all the other stuff I use it for (TV, Netflix, hulu etc.). It's become my "hub" whereas the PS4 is basically an Infamous machine right now.

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      May 14, 2014 10:05 AM

      789p

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      May 14, 2014 2:02 PM

      [deleted]

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        May 14, 2014 3:21 PM

        If it is like uncleanmonkey noted earlier in the thread then it would just disable the skeletal and gesture recognition during non Kinect games which would be fine. You really only use voice commands while playing those anyway.

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      May 14, 2014 3:36 PM

      O/U on next-gen Xbox? Line starts at 2016.5. I think they will end up going the route of the 360 and jumping the schedule again. Could be just a beefed up Xbone, so backwards compat is a given.

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        May 14, 2014 3:37 PM

        Sorry, I should have made the line 2017.5. I think it will be a 4 year cycle for it, so I want the money to go higher for when I'm right. ;)

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        May 14, 2014 3:44 PM

        If sales don't pick up I could see them bailing on xbone earlier as a failure. Remember, MS has new management. They may want to break clean from the xbone if it becomes tainted.

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