Did Microsoft Drop The Kinect Processor Just To Save Money? They Say Nay

3 min read


Remember a while back, when a little bit of a controversy got kicked up because Microsoft decided to drop the processor from their Kinect hardware?

The internet went wild and started to blame the lack of a dedicated processor for the input lag seen on early units of the then Project Natal demos that were doing the rounds. So why was the processor dropped then? An evil scheme to screw gamers and save money to buy more yachts?

The latest videos on display of the Kinect units show that the input delay is very much within acceptable range, regardless of the fact that the Xbox 360 is now handling all of the processing.

According to Microsoft, the reason that the processor was dropped was simply because its power was just “not needed”. They say that Kinect only uses 1% of the Xbox 360’s processing power however, I bet that if it still had a processor they would be telling us that it was powerful enough to control an intergalactic spaceship, but hey, that’s just me.

Our favorite odd weirdo in charge of the Kinect project, Kudo Tsunoda had the following things to say on the matter:

“We didn’t know how much processing Kinect was going to take at the start of development,”

“Obviously you don’t want to lose any of the things that are important to Xbox customers. Graphic fidelity is something that Xbox has always been known for, and you want to make sure that you still hit that level.

“Forza is a graphical showpiece, and we had Forza with Kinect at E3… the graphic fidelity has actually improved in some areas from what they shipped with Forza 3. It’s still running at 60 FPS and it’s supporting Kinect, so there’s just no need to have that extra processor.”

He also went on to answer the question of why the Kinect initially tracked 50 points and why it now only tracks 20:

“As you start building the stuff, you’re like: ‘Wow, to track everything in the human body we can do less points. That’s just normal game development. Anything you do with games, you want the processing power to be used as efficiently as possible to get the experience that you want.”

So in conclusion, Microsoft are basically saying that the changes made to Kinect were basically down to optimization and streamlining. Truth is that we still don’t actually have any solid proof that the Kinect would have been any quicker using its own processor.

It’s also worth a mention that if the Kinect did have the extra hardware, it would have been even more expensive and the way that its pricing is looking already, it would have resulted in nothing but a pure flop for them.

Source: CVG

Last Updated: September 30, 2010

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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