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Kinect voice commands, camera will work after XDK update

Devs will receive a graphics boost, but Microsoft confirms that certain Kinect features will endure

The June update to the Xbox Development Kit might open up another 10 per cent of the GPU, but it hasn't cut Kinect out of the picture entirely.

Microsoft trumpeted the extra graphics power it was unlocking for Xbox developers at the start of the month, but further details beyond that headline grabbing 10 per cent did not follow. Yesterday, in a post on the Xbox site, the director of development for Xbox Software Engineering completed the picture.

Kareem Choudhry reinforced the idea that the update - which frees up the resources put aside for Kinect - will give developers, "more performance, tools and flexibility to make games better."

"With this change, titles that are not using skeletal tracking with Kinect can choose to use that portion of the system reserve for other purposes. We have also optimised the entire system so that titles have access to 100 per cent of the Xbox One GPU for increased resolution and graphical effects."

Kinect's depth and and infared sensors will not be available to developers who choose to tap into the extra GPU performance. However, certain aspects of the Kinect experience will continue to function.

"Platform level voice commands such as 'Xbox On', 'Xbox, Record That', and 'Xbox, Go Home' will continue to work as they do today, as will any in-game speech commands or Snap mode. The Kinect (RGB color) camera will still continue to work, so your friends can watch you while you're playing your favorite games. Snap mode for TV, Achievements and other features will continue to work."

Choudhry also tackled the misconception that the Kinect should be unplugged for games to receive a graphics boost. That's all down to the whims of specific game developers, and both Bungie's Destiny and Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive are doing exactly that.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.