June’s XDK (Xbox Development Kit) update will offer developers “more access to GPU bandwidth, which provides more performance, new tools and flexibility to make games better,” according to Microsoft’s most recent news update. But what does that mean for Xbox gamers?
Well, that depends on the developer.
Following the update, developers will now have access to an additional 10% of extra GPU bandwidth that was previously reserved for system level processing which included Kinect-related skeletal tracking data. Director of development at Xbox software engineering Kareem Choudry says “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,” he adds.
Does that mean you’ll now get 1080p visuals out of all your Xbox One games if you just unplug the Kinect sensor? Not really. “It is up to developers to utilize the June XDK for games in development to take advantage of these additional GPU resources,” says Kareem.
But even if developers decide to allocate that GPU power elsewhere, your Kinect sensor will still function at a basic capacity.
“Platform level voice commands such as ‘Xbox On,’ ‘Xbox, Record That,’ and ‘Xbox, Go Home’ will continue to work as they do today, as will any in-game speech commands or Snap mode,” explains Kareem. “The Kinect (RGB color) camera will still continue to work, so your friends can watch you while you’re playing your favorite games. Snap mode for TV, Achievements and other features will continue to work.”
What won’t work for games that do use the additional performance boost are the Kinect Depth and infrared sensors which enable biometric sign-in skeletal tracking, and controller pairing. But, don’t worry. All of that will be re-enabled upon visiting the Home screen, even while in the middle of a game.
Kareem says that Microsoft is “working with developers that have games in development to help them understand and take full advantage of what these changes have to offer.” Destiny developer Bungie has already publicly stated that it will be using the extra boost in performance to provide 1080p visuals on the Xbox One, matching that of the PlayStation 4. The same can be said for Insomniac Games’ Sunset Overdrive.
At last, the Xbox One may finally shake it’s “Xbox 720” nickname.
Source: Xbox Wire