Kinect-free Xbox One now offers 10% more GPU power to devs

Wednesday, 4th June 2014 23:00 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Xbox One’s latest developer update has unlocked an additional 10% of GPU power when not connected to a Kinect unit, meaning developers might be able to reach the hallowed 1080p/60 FPS benchmark.


The news first came from Microsoft’s Phil Spencer on Twitter.

You might wonder how on earth a software update could have such a significant effect on performance, but it’s not due to some amazing tech wizardry. In a statement issued to Eurogamer, Microsoft confirmed the extra grunt has been freed up by dropping Kinect support when games don’t require it.

“Yes, the additional resources allow access to up to 10% additional GPU performance,” a representative said.

“We’re committed to giving developers new tools and flexibility to make their Xbox One games even better by giving them the option to use the GPU reserve in whatever way is best for them and their games.”

Asked whether this boost would allow Xbox One games to reach 1080p and 60 FPS – something of a sore point in the console wars at the moment – the representative said that’s up to how developers choose to use the extra power at their disposal.

In addition to the dev kit update, the consumer Xbox One has received its June software update.



  1. zombizmo

    Goodbye once again kinect. Can’t say it was a pleasure.

    #1 7 months ago
  2. Panthro


    #2 7 months ago
  3. KAP

    The sad thing is, when the next Xbox comes out with Kinect 3.0 gamers and journalists alike will forget all about the previous two. Just wait and see…

    #3 7 months ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    Well more extra power is good, but the “is up to developers” is better imo, because developers can reach a balance of good pixel count with good framerate without that pressure, at least thats what i do hope in this regard.

    Also I do believe this shows spencer goals with the one, interesting how things change with a different view on things.

    #4 7 months ago
  5. ddtd

    Brenna, I don’t think the Kinect has to be disconnected from the unit. The GPU reserve can be turned off by the developer regardless of whether a Kinect is connected or not.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. Froseidon

    I’ve owned the original Xbox and the 360, and only ever used Kinect (360) in a store to test it.

    The Xbox division is looking so much more desirable under Phil Spencer than it ever wan in Don Mattrick’s (Don’t know how spell his last name, not sure if that’s right :S) time there. Glad he seems more focused on the gamers than multimedia and that he can also see the flaws in Kinect both from a gamers standpoint and business perspective.

    As for 1080p/60fps, I’m not really bothered, but I guess it could be nice. PC doesn’t display much above 35fps, so I can’t say 30fps really bothers me.

    #6 7 months ago
  7. fearmonkey

    10 percent of extra GPU power is almost nothing really, not enough to go from 30fps to 60fps stable. The direct 12 benefit might add to that, but as the GPU in the Xbox One is a Directx11 class processor, it wont take full advantge. It all seems much to do about nothing unless your in charge of marketing for MS.

    #7 7 months ago
  8. Verbalrob

    So will all Kinect functions be deactivated while playing games that take up this option (e.g. saying record that or getting to switch to a TV channel)?

    #8 7 months ago
  9. Tormenter

    We all pretty much agreed that this would be the cases, huh?

    How many times did someone say that MS would boast more power once it got rid of the spybox.

    #9 7 months ago
  10. Tormenter


    Yes, you’re quite right.. it’s still not going to be enough.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. FeaturePreacher

    Interesting to see how much resolution and frame rate matter now and how much everyone who said it didn’t was lying through their teeth.

    #11 7 months ago
  12. ddtd

    @Verbalrob I would imagine the camera won’t be functional if you’re in a game that takes advantage of the extra resources.

    I think the voice commands are run off the Kinect itself, so they’ll probably still work.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. Xbone

    Guys, dont forget the secret 2nd gpu :D

    #13 7 months ago
  14. Xbone

    And what happens if someone wants to use the kinect with the game?

    #14 7 months ago
  15. Kreion

    10% is more than you give it credit for…but I agree it won’t be enough to make a massive difference in the overall graphical quality. Then again I’m not really fussed about 60fps on consoles, I switch between PC and Xbox all the time and it’s never bothered me – but that’s just me.

    #15 7 months ago
  16. silverstorm

    Now they need to drop that tv tuner bullshit so it looks a little slimmer. But man, their credibility would then be totally moot.

    #16 7 months ago
  17. viralshag

    Such a joke for the early adopters that paid full price for an Xbox One and the now mostly useless Kinect.

    #17 7 months ago
  18. bradk825

    @17 I enjoy my Kinect, and I’ve been playing XB1 games since November, so I have no regrets. You forget that early adopters actually want to be early adopters.

    Anyway, I hope devs don’t actually make games that force you to completely disable Kinect, meaning voice commands like “Xbox record that” will not be available in-game for example. It’s a cool feature I don’t want to lose for the sake of a few more pixels I can’t even really notice. If they can free up a little power while making Kinect run on a reduced capacity or something, that would be fine.

    @11 nope, still doesn’t matter that much to anyone but fanboys who for some reason feel like they get to take pride in the accomplishments of others.

    #18 7 months ago
  19. Doppleganger

    I would gladly pay 100 dollars for the kinect over and over again. Don’t say the kinect is useless unless you know how to use it, or used it for that matter. I rather don’t like it for games but was fully impressed with flying a helicopter in battlefield 4 and being able to look around the battlefield by moving my head. For TV, navigation and multiple users on a console the kinect is awesome!

    #19 7 months ago
  20. viralshag


    I was an early adopter and had the Xbox One at launch, thanks. And I still stand by the Kinect being useless then and even more so now. Do you really think with MS ditching it from the package it will gain any notable traction in use, games or features? It’ll end up just like the first Kinect.

    The one good thing about it was “Xbox record that”. And for the price of the Xbox One at launch – which was most certainly bumped up because of the Kinect – was certainly not worth it.

    I bought it because I had faith that MS could deliver a straight up games machine akin to that of the 360. What they have so far delivered is a bulky, poor performing, U-turning, lacklustre machine. I’m pretty sure they talked about how integral the Kinect was for the future of Xbox at launch… so much so they’re now prepared to drop it from the console packs.

    IMO anyway.

    #20 7 months ago
  21. ddtd

    Ha. Major Nelson put out a tweet for the media regarding the Kinect.

    Kinetic can stay plugged in if you have one.

    #21 7 months ago

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