Could cutting Kinect mean a more powerful Xbox One?

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Microsoft’s Xbox One reserved a set amount of its power to run Kinect and its three-tiered operating system. The big news at the moment is that Microsoft is dropping Kinect like a particularly warm edible tuber. Could dropping Kinect mean that power could be used for games?

“Xbox One has a conservative 10 per cent time-sliced reservation on the GPU for system processing. This is used both for the GPGPU processing for Kinect and for the rendering of concurrent system content such as snap mode,” Microsoft’s technical chap Andrew Goossen said of the Xbox One last year.

Two of the system’s available cores are used for the operating system and Kinect. so will Kinect’s excision mean the power could go to games? Quite probably, according to Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi.

“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.

What we do know is that the system’s interface will soon receive a less Kinect-centric overhaul, making it less about shouting at your console, and more about using the controller…pretty much exactly what everybody wanted in the first place.

“We do want to find ways to give you some of those shortcuts and make some of the things that we have with Kinect easier with the controller,” Mehdi said.

“You can expect to see us do a bunch of things over the coming months to make the experience easier and easier, even if you don’t have a Kinect.”

For early adopters forced in to owning Kinect though, Microsoft probably won’t be giving you anything extra by way of apology – so don’t go expecting any Ambassador Programs with free games as we saw when Nintendo slashed the 3DS’ price.

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Honestly, I think Kinect was a mistake to begin with, made to try capitalise on the Wii’s motion control success. That was a flash in the pan, and motion controls are nearly unanimously worse for games. It was Kinect that turned gamers away from Microsoft back with the 360 already, and the company’s resolute focus on it then meant they focused less on actual games. Its forced inclusion in the Xbox One just added fuel to the fire.

Industry people have said that Kinect was Don Mattrick’s baby, and that seems to be the case. Since he’s left, and a more gamer-oriented Phil spencer has taken his place the Xbox seems to have a renewed focus on games

They’re not getting rid of Kinect entirely mind; it’ll still be sold and it will still be used in games – but the important distinction is that consumer now have the choice of whether or not to purchase it.

Last Updated: May 14, 2014

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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