The Xbox One is getting a graphics boost, though the potential 10-percent improvement will only affect the console when Kinect isn’t plugged in, Microsoft has admitted. Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed that the Xbox One’s software dev kit to be released this month will bring with it “more GPU bandwidth”, with Microsoft later confirming that the extra grunt comes from freeing up resources previously reserved for powering Kinect, assuming game developers choose to take advantage of it.
When Kinect was a mandatory feature of Xbox One, the system automatically set aside a chunk of its GPU and other system resources for it. However, in a statement given to Eurogamer, Microsoft said that the new SDK will give the option to unlock those earmarked resources.
Described as a “GPU reserve”, the pocket of processing can be applied in a variety of ways, the company suggests.
However, it’s not to say Microsoft is stepping back from Kinect. In fact, as well as allowing game and app developers to eschew it completely, the June SDK will also offer “more flexibility” in the voice and gesture control system. Details on that are yet to be shared, though.
Gamers are already getting excited by the possibility of more titles managing the 1080p and 60fps pairing that many expect from cutting-edge titles, though a Microsoft spokesperson did point out that it’s up to the developers themselves to actually implement the raw power on offer.
“We have started working with a number of developers on how they can best take advantage of these changes,” a company spokesperson told us.
Microsoft announced the upcoming availability of an Xbox One without Kinect bundle last month, with the console set to go on sale next week. By leaving out the sensor bar – which will be sold separately for those who want to later upgrade – it will trim the price down to under the $400 mark.