Developers currently working on Xbox One games received some good news: A new version of the Xbox One software development kit gives them access to increased graphics processing bandwidth. Where does this magical graphics juice come from, though? Microsoft has confirmed that the 10 percent boost is a result of the decision to strip Kinect from the developer requirements. Kinect is no longer an assumed part of the package when developers create games. Previously, the bandwidth required for Kinect was reserved for it, but now developers can choose to enable or disabled that functionality.
Ever since launch, many multiplatform games just haven’t looked as good (or run as smoothly) on the Xbox One as they have the PlayStation 4. Going forward that gap might be closed. At least a little. From launch until now, developers had to leave some resources on the console’s GPU free for Kinect integration, which had been mandatory. Now that Kinect isn’t a compulsory inclusion, a recent code update for dev kits means studios are now able to free up those resources for games, which could (if used) make their titles run more smoothly, look a little sharper or even both. Here’s the relevant statement issued to Eurogamer by Microsoft: “For consumers, simply unplugging Kinect will not impact the performance of Xbox One. The June SDK released to developers gives them access to additional GPU resources previously reserved for Kinect and system functions. Accessing the additional GPU resources is done by the developer, and how developers choose to access the extra GPU performance for their games is up to them.”