After revealing the changes at the Electronic Entertainment Expo last week, Microsoft is talking more about the alterations it’s made in the June release of the XDK software that Xbox One developers use to create games. More specifically, the company is finally clarifying what features will and won’t work if game makers decide to take advantage of a 10% boost in processing and disable some Kinect functionality.
Microsoft published a question and answer session with Kareem Choudhry, a Director of Development for the Xbox line’s software engineering team, late yesterday on its Xbox Wire news blog.
Besides committing to enhancing the Xbox One’s game development tools so that game makers can create even more impressive titles over the life-span of the Xbox One, Choudhry talks a bit about how this new processing boost works. It’s a little more nuanced that what users likely imagined.
First, unplugging the Kinect 2 sensor temporarily or not plugging in a Kinect 2 sensor at all doesn’t necessarily mean they have more power to work with at all. Instead, Microsoft has simply engineered the Xbox One’s software so that it can supply games with the processing power it used to reserve for other things, temporarily. When developers need this 10% power boost for their games they can enable a new mode that turns off all the Kinect 2 sensor’s visual tracking. Xbox One owners will get better looking games in those cases, but they won’t able to use hand gestures to give their console commands, sign in by just standing in front of their Kinect sensor or have the Xbox One manage what Gamertag is being used on what controller. Voice commands like “Xbox, Snap” will still work though.
In the run up to releasing the Xbox One Microsoft was heavily criticized for it not focusing enough on gaming. Since launch the company has been very careful to change users minds. Besides the changes here Microsoft also dropped the pay wall that forced Xbox users to pay for Xbox Live Gold before using entertainment apps and released a $399 version of the Xbox One that doesn’t use the Kinect sensor.
Destiny developer has confirmed that the Xbox One version of that game will now match the resolution and refresh rate of the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Previously, that wasn’t the case.