With the news that Microsoft is launching a new Kinect-less Xbox One bundle starting next month, speculation continues to mount that the resources freed up by not running the motion sensor on the console could be harnessed to increase the system's technical performance.
Since the console's launch, it has struggled to match the performance of Sony's PlayStation 4 when it comes to multiplatform games. While the PS4 itself has been less than stellar in this department, it has consistently reached higher resolutions and frame rates than the Xbox One, but with reports that as much as 10 percent of the console's resources are reserved for Kinect, could its removal help to narrow the performance gap between the platforms?
Microsoft thinks that might be a possibility, with Xbox head Phil Spencer telling Kotaku that the company is already in discussion with developers and publishers about potential uses for the additional resources. In the interview Spencer said:
I know that developers want to get every bit of functionality out of the box that they can,. In conversations I'm having with our partners, that's something that's come up. We need to land the right plan there so that we've ticked off all the boxes to make sure we understand all of the long-term ramifications, but you bring up an idea and a workstream that we're focused on that makes a ton of sense. It's just about when we're ready to make those kinds of calls.
Taking this route could prove to be problematic for Microsoft, however, with as many as 5 million Kinect-bundled Xbox Ones already in the wild. Given that the sensor was one of the major selling points of the hardware when it launched in November, telling users that they need to disconnect it in order to play certain games may not go down particularly well. It's possible, however, that Microsoft could work with developers to implement a software method of disabling the sensor for certain games, ensuring that gamers who adopted the platform early don't face any potential headaches.