Xbox One: What’s Up for Developers, Gamers and the Kinect

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By Gel Galang | June 20, 2014 12:23 PM EST

Developers for the Xbox One can expect a couple of new things, particularly with the newest GPU bandwidth addition that comes with freeing up the Kinect. This is coming with the June Xbox Development Kit (XDK) update, one that is also aimed to benefit gamers.

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An attendee uses her smartphone in front of a giant Microsoft Xbox sign at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

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Speaking with director of development for Xbox Software Engineering Kareen Choudhry, Xbox Wire has the latest on what exactly the update will do for the most important part of the gaming experience: the games.

"We continue to optimize the platform, make new technology investments, and give titles increased flexibility to use the features that best meet their needs," sid Choudhry to Xbox Wire.

"We've offered new updates to developers since the launch of Xbox One and the recent availability of the June XDK for developers offers developers more access to GPU bandwidth, which provides more performance, new tools and flexibility to make games better."

When this change finally debuts, developers will now have more freedom in how and what they use the resources of the Xbox One for. The reserve has grown to a 10% more GPU, originally given to the system level processing for the Kinect-related tracking.

There is still a way to bring back the Kinect Depth and infrared sensors function, when a user goes back to Home or other apps. And even though a game will use the extra resources, Choudhry revealed that the platform level commands, speech commands and the Snap mode for the Kinect will still work.

However, one flaw that people may easily slip into is the assumption that games will automatically become 1080p. According to Choudhry, the decision on whether or not a game will become 1080p will still depend on whether the developers will use the additional resources.

A Look at the Device's Future

But even though there is a now more flexibility in how the resources of the Xbox One will be used, Xbox head Phil Spencer still believes that the move to unbundle the Kinect from the Xbox One is actually a move towards selling more Kinects in the process.

Speaking in an interview with Polygon, Spencer has stated the Kinect remains integral in the overall plan for the Xbox One.

"This might seem backwards, but I believe the decision we made to allow people to buy Xbox One without Kinect included, in the end, will actually lead to more Kinects in the market," he said to Polygon. "I believe that you've got to sell the console before you can sell Kinect."

Spencer also admits that, in order for the Xbox One to remain competitive, it needed to hear what people have been saying about the bundled product all along: price is an important deciding factor.

Once they are able to put the Xbox One in a more competitive position, Spencer stated that that's where the company will start to bring back the Kinect in a way that it can be bought as a standalone and where its relevance will be seen by the community.

Games on the Xbox One and Xbox 360

As far as the games coming out on the Xbox One are concerned, Spencer also revealed in an interview with Metro that they will be putting the Xbox One as a primary focus in order to kickstart the new generation console.

"You'd always like to have more hits, but when I think about the investments we're making in content, the diversity of the content, the ship cycles that the teams are on, them hitting 2014 in such a strong way," he said to Metro.

And it's not like the Xbox 360 will no longer see any support from Microsoft in the coming years. If anything, Spencer seem to be looking at a commitment to the millions of people on the Xbox 360.

"We're going to sell millions more Xbox 360s before this generation is done... I want to make sure that there's content for them. It's an investment in the new generation of consoles, not every game is going to go to 360 but I want to make sure the 360 has a healthy line-up of software from us and from third parties."

Xbox One E3 2014 trailer (via YouTube/xbox)

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(Photo: Reuters / )
An attendee uses her smartphone in front of a giant Microsoft Xbox sign at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian
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