Xbox One games to benefit from major graphics boost with new XDK

Kinect can be shut off to give games better GPU performance

Microsoft's June XDK release for Xbox brings more flexible performance to gaming at the discretion of developers. Director of Development, Xbox Software Engineering Kareem Choudhry revealed that developers now have access to more GPU bandwidth that could help boost gaming performance when resources are not used or tied up.

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

What this means is that in the past, 10 percent of the GPU is reserved for system resources, like using the Kinect camera. With the new XDK, if a game doesn't need Kinect, developers now have 100 percent access to the Xbox One GPU so they can bring even better graphics performance to their games.

Additionally, developers will have the flexibility to enable or disable Kinect use in select parts of the game. Kinect can be used to sign in to a game, but shut off in other parts of the game to bring better GPU performance, for example.

Microsoft says that it is working with developers to bring games with more GPU flexibility. In fact, a few titles are already announced with the boost in GPU performance thanks to the XDK, including Destiny and Sunset Overdrive.

Source: Xbox


Reader comments

Xbox One games to benefit from major graphics boost with new XDK


wrong, it is not a linear scale. the PS4 has just 50% more compute units (18 vs 12). By your logic it should have twice the comput units. Yet it is not a linear scale to the frame rate so it doesn't need 24 to do 60fps. 10% more gpu resources than before, means the xb1 had reserved 1.2 compute units which now closes the gap with the PS4 by 20% compared to the prior gap.

that 10% extra push is all bugie needed to push 1080p. again, not a linear scale.

Honestly, I can't tell the difference in resolution. To me, all the Xbox One games that I have played look amazing.

It'd be nice if developer gave the option to run 1080p locked to 30fps or 720p (and locked to 60fps if possible)

Are you serious? Come on, im playing games of 2010, and games of this year like TitanFall.

TitanFall bit old? So, what do you think is "new" a game from two days ago? Then, this 2 days ago game the next monday will be "a little bit old", isn't?

Halo 1 is still brilliant. & the graphics - even on the old Xbox - are still respectable.
Halo 1 really demonstrates how it is the story not the graphics that makes a great game.
I'm not enthused by either the Xbox1 or the PS4 because they do nothing new. Better graphics - and nothing else. The 360 will continue to have the best games for many months I'm sure.

What else do you want from it, a controller that will S your D while you play? You're either a senior citizen who says "consoles are for games only" in which improved graphics is exactly what you want. Or you are a true techie and you like that it can do more like Skype calls, apps, 'multitasking' and so much more.

Skyrim and saints row the 3rd over here! I finished HL2 EP2 not too long ago, and still play LFD2 occasionally. Did I mention TF2 is still going strong on steam? The older games are just as fun as day 1.

Titanfall is a blast, it will never get old...probably why it is still the top game on xbox live.

ADHD is treatable, btw. 

No it can't be used for Titanfall. The games have to be coded for it. No existing game can take advantage of it. The games coming out will be able too.

Actually, Respond already said that an update is coming for TitanFall that will push it to a higher resolution. Probably because of this XDK change. This was announced shortly after the game's launch.

That's what patching is for.

Black Flag for PS4 got patched to 1080p after the game was released.

It is good that XBO developers now have access to full GPU potential. It is still slower than PS4 GPU (and RAM),  but at least it is not further slowed down by processes that might not benefit specific game at all. Kinect is cool for sports and party games, but I cannot see how can it add to shooter or driving game.

A lot of people still play this game ladies. Not enough variety yet. That's why it got boring quick. Lots of good dlc and things to come for titan fall. Do your research.

You are perilously close to invoking Godwin's law. Or perhaps I am. Either way it's best avoided.

I just asked her and she sent me to the web.  I know what I am going to buy though, a Xbox One.

If you want power just get a pc... The PS4 is slightly more powerfull than the XboxOne but its much more limited in what it can do. Not to mention that xbox live is much better than ps online.

Saying the PS4 is Best, Depends on your definition of Best! For me the Xbox one is the BEST. I love the voice commands, the games at great, TV integration is fantastic and they have been providing updates each month giving it more functionality. All in all it is a Better overall package than the PS4.

I bought the Xbox One unlike most of my friends that bought the PS4 because the non-gaming capabilities.They care about games enough that the focus on games in PS4 was the biggest reason but not enough to buy a PC. I bought a PC and the Xbox because you know I'm still not in the HTPC wave. 

The way Microsoft builds the Xbox always makes it better in the long run. Compare the capability of the 360 when it came out to what it is now -- so much better and so many great features added. Then compare the capability of the PS3 when it came out to what it is now -- it has a couple of new things to do with PS+, but many of its best features were actually removed.

Also consider that universal apps are coming to Xbox One; the potential for that is massive.


Universal apps? You bet. Hell, Cortana is coming to Xbox One. This machine is going to be a beast when you can voice control home automation from it.

I'm sorry but I still have a problem with square, circle, triangle and X... Plus the configuration of sticks in relation to the rest, ergonomic it's not.

+One, I totally agree MediaCastleX. My first console was a PS2 bought back in '98 or '99. And while I liked 2 games, I hardly played them. My biggest issue was the controller. The square, x, circle and triangle were not very intuitive to me. The joystick placement was not comfortable, and I really hated the trigger and bumpers. In '08 I had the resources to buy a 360 and the controller was awesome! I just can't bring myself to try a dual shock controller. I loved my 360, and bought a One on launch. I haven't touched my 360 since then, and I am very happy with the One -- Kinect, controller, and all.

I have to know why your username is sumothong01...

Sound advice you've given btw. I was going to comment "this", until I saw your username.

yeah same here..I got the Xbox One already..nd am getting a PS4 at the end of this year..don't wanna miss out on the PS4 exclusives...but I can already tell I'll be using my Xbox One a lot more

If you want a console just to play games and you're not interested in just the graphics (otherwise you should get a PC and not a console, but everyone knows that), it doesn't matter if the PS4 has 2 MB/s of bandwidth more than the XOne, or if it can process 2 Mflops less, or whatever. Consoles are meant to play games, so just get the one that has the games you like the most. Everyone forgets that. The point is not having the best console, the point is playing the best games.

Truly said, if your fav game was Bayonetta and you wanted to play more, both would be wrong choices :) Personally I am going to get Xbox One the day it supports miracast. The app and TV integration is my draw.

Choose between the better controller for you, and then look at the exclusive games each console offers. Don't let fan boys chose for you, it's YOUR enjoyment at the end of the day.

Not even controller. Exclusive games first. If you want to play Halo, Uncharted, Forza, Gran Turismo... you don't really have a choice. Then, maybe, multiplatforms; these might focus on PS4 as development platform more often in future, if PS4 continue to sell more worldwide, and with a bit stronger hardware, it can result in inferior XBO ports more often than not - PS3 was in same situation back in the days; so that also could be something to consider. There will be 3rd party controllers for PS4 to mimic XBO's controller setup - there were quite a few for PS3, I don't think this will change. That being said, neither controller is bad to start with - we all have our preferences, but we all can easily adapt. I'm using PS4, PS3 and X360 controllers with ease, I'm not finding either to "stress" my hands more. Don't have XBO yet, but much as I played with them in game shops, I cannot see a problem there either.

Buy the system with the exclusives you wanna play. Both systems are graphically comparable. These ps4 whores talk like its night and day. It's not. And with the xdk and dx12 in the pipeline, it may even surpass the ps4. I have both cuz i like exclusives for both. Can't wait for uncharted. Can't wait for halo5 and Sunset overdrive.

Nah. Don't hold your breath over that. Phil Spencer already said not to expect much from DX12 on XBO.

Major point with DX12 in about providing low level APIs to developers - basically letting them talk with hardware in more direct way. This is huge for PC, but both XBO and PS4 already have low level APIs in their development tools - one of reasons why games on consoles almost always end up better optimized than PC versions - so it makes sense that DX12 is not going to bring revolution there. Some improvements, sure - but then, both Nintendo and Sony are also improving and optimizing their development tools, too, so it's a bit of a dead race really.

Dude don't here these fan boys they'll misguide you its all about the games ..if you like Microsoft exclusives like Halo , forza, etc get an Xbox or if you like MGS and gran tourismo get a PS ..... Both systems works equally in the eyes of a person who wants to play games .. If you can sacrifice some games any console or PC will work just fine ...
And once more I point out the first question should be what games you want to play and not which console(if ur rich get em both)

First thing to think about is what games you like better on either Xbox one or ps4. Then look at functionality and which controller you like better. Then consider whether you own windows devices like a windows 8.1 PC and windows phone 8 because that would def be better integrated with the Xbox one. Those are the things I would look at.

Which system have the games you want? Which system have the upcoming games which you think you will like?

Look at the games and decide based on them. I have a PC and a Wii U to cover all my needs (though I'll likely pick up both other consoles at some point in the future).

Every little bit helps. But will this help enough? Fingers crossed but, not holding my breadth.
Wasn't there supposed to be a DirectX 12 release that's supposed to have a fairly huge impact? I mean, noticeably more than this XDK adding up to 10%.

Boo. They are not going to game at 4k. Not enough power to do so. It does already support 4k video. DX12 will allow for better multithreading capabilities and increased hardware usage.

You'd probably be surprised. It's not a linear function with GPUs. Plus the GPU isn't switching contexts all the time to process Kinect data. It will result in a good deal more than just a simple 10% extra pixels on the screen.

My only concern is will it gimp voice commands through Kinect? I find myself, more and more, snapping tv while gaming. If a studio releases a title that doesn't use Kinect to increase graphics, will it disable the voice commands to switch or go to full screen?

Microsoft seems to always be two steps behind the times.
Everybody and their Mother knows that 1080p is the current "standard" for High Definition Videos and Microsoft in Fracking 2013 releases a new XBox One claiming its gonna be the best place to experience entertainment and the Device cannot even play 1080p games without "VooDoo Magic".
And no one in upper management gets fired. Only at Microsoft.

Developers chose the resolution of their game. And it sends that for some games they decided that frame rate and details are more important than just pixels.

Developers don't actually have a choice, they have to work around these weak boxes whether they like it or not.

Really?! So you actually play games or talk about specs. Not judging here, each one is entitled to his own kicks. But, for instance, Murdered: Soul Suspect is 1080p and ugly as f***, while Ryse is 900p, and probably the best looking game this console generation brought (ps4 included).

This discussion is fueled by the media and Sony, resolution in itself means very little. While video gaming concentrates on pixel counting rather then content quality, it'll remain a geeky hobby rather than the deserved place ot should have by now as a mature entertainment industry.

Sony isn't much better in that regard though, half of their AAA titles don't run 1080p either, although yes, more than on Xbox. I don't think it would be hard to do on Xbox One either, there are plenty of examples, it's just that the tradeoff you have to make from graphical detail elsewhere doesnt make it worth it. Like said, there are 1080p games on these consoles that look worse than games that dont run 1080p. For example Thief at 900p on X1 vs. 1080p on PS4 was said to look slightly better on Xbox One (by several sites), this was solely cos of somethng that had nothing to do with resolution whatsoever, but the "other graphical settings."

I'm an Xbox One/MS fanboy, but I also think that so far nothing beats Ryse when it comes to graphics on next-gen, and that was "only" a 900p game.

And if the console cost $100 more, would you buy it? They are already near break even and the PS4 is losing on every console. Sometimes you have to make compromises to reach a target price. Point is those compromises aren't reducing the enjoyability of the games. They just spark debate between nerds on blogs comparing specs on a paper and not actual game play.

If that were true emulation wouldn't be such a big deal. Literally every single one of my friends who game on their smartphones have downloaded a snes emulator to play Super Mario. If you need a console/pc example look at Minecraft or even WoW.

Because gameplay is assumend to be the same, not to mention that higher framerate means more responsive controls which are the most import part of the gameplay itself.

Hmm...depends on what type of "gaming" you are talking about. The fact that "gamer" means "FPS enthusiast" has pissed me off for at least the past decade or two. I'm 33 years old btw.

Not every game has to run at 60 fps or display in 1080p. I swear half of the people clamoring for those milestones don't even know why they want them. It literally doesn't matter except in online multiplayer games where anything less MIGHT put you at a disadvantage. Other than that its just bragging rights.

If I'm wrong, someone please call me out and correct me. This is just my understanding thus far.

@wpn00b I'm pretty much with you on this. A game can be pretty or it can be fun to play, the majority of games coming out rarely meet both of these criteria but if I had to choose, fun gameplay wins out every time. I'd prefer more time being spent on making games fun and trying new mechanics and stories than having these companies measure how high they can push the resolutions and framerates when most people can't tell the difference.

Yeah, gameplay is important (which is why I have a Wii U ;), but it's not looking like there  will be any major differences in that from the last gen. Still, 1080p was happening on PC when the last gen started, it's pitiful they still can't reach that (though 30fps pisses me off more, especially for fast paced gameplay).

You're saying that as if most of Sony's games are not sub 1080p. The only difference is that MS isn't lying about it.

It can play 1080p games. Some games developers lower the resolution to maintain the framerate. Many of those same games are also lower on the PS4. The PS4 has many games running at 900p. Quite frankly, it doesn't matter because you can't really tell the difference during normal game play. You have to freeze the game and start looking for the little differences.  Those differences are usually detail in the background elements that you wouldn't notice playing a game at full speed. That is why the developers are optimizing the framerate and not the resolution. You notice when the framerate drops. 

Its the same story with ps4. These consoles just aren't good enough. PS4 out of the box though does have some more horse power then Xbox one but with these updates and then dx12 releases the games will be much better and higher frames and higher resolution will be more common. I agree though to the disappointment in how powerful they aren't.

Also, they need to add a slider to adjust graphics to be worse but has higher fps and resolution or better but lower fps and resolution.

Actually 1440p is the current trends for gaming, if you are doing it at any lower, then you are well behind the times, this includes all of the current gen consoles.
So there is no point complaining about the 360 because they are all old tech, if you want the best graphically, buy a PC, when it comes to consoles, just pick your exclusives and go from there, or buy all of them.

Are any games actually 1080p? And I don't mean just spec, actual quality of the image. All the games I've seen so far have amazing video scenes but gameplay still looks like a game. When you consider the quality image a 1080p display can actually show and what a game looks like I don't think anyone truly his it.

It also didn't really matter that much. You know when you buy a console that your sacrificing performance for other features and it's gameplay that really matters.

Also has to be said that graphics will get better. Just look at the old consoles and how graphics improve even though the hardware stays the same. Same thing will happen here.

it's not voodoo magic. the xb1 can do 1080p as we know already. it is a question of the quality of the 1080p.

for example the PS4 can do 1080p, but compared to a PC rig's 1080p, looks hideous due to the low compute unit count it has compared to current pc processing power. the 50% additional CU from the PS4 allows it to render better 1080p than the XB1, or for the XB1 to render the same quality at lower resolution.

the question is, will it matter? doubtful as most games look nearly identical, while PC games look much much better.

For example, you are wrong.

I am PC and PS4 gamer... hope to be XBO soon as well. Anyway. I'm running decent gaming PC with 3.2GHz quad i5, 16GB RAM, R9 280x 3GB graphics; it runs pretty much everything in 1080p on ultra settings.

Still, Killzone on PS4 is one of the best looking FPS on any platform, period. Mind you - best looking; gameplay is OK but not earth-shattering. But when it comes to looks, it was all the way up there. And I would say the same about Forza 5 when it comes to racers.

You can't compare PC and console games and make conclusions based on pure hardware performance. Yes, both XBO and PS4 hardware is way behind top or even mid-range gaming PC... but they already have low level APIs available for developers, and optimization is in completely different league, compared to PC... plus, games are finely tuned for one specific set-in-stone configuration, while PC games have to scale up and down for wide range of hardware. Even with slower hardware, consoles will stand their ground against much stronger PC hardware. Maybe DX12 will improve this for PCs - I sure hope it will - but right now, you need more power to get same results, period.

Otherwise, we would not have games as good looking (and running) as Forza 4, GT6, Uncharted, Halo, both platforms GoWs... if consoles had same visuals/raw power ratio as PC. What were the best looking PC games we could run on PC with 256MB of RAM and Nvidia 7800 with 256MB of video RAM? We are talking about 2005 hardware. Back in the days, top of PC were Battlefield 2, COD2, F.E.A.R... and Battlefield 2 alone was recommending 1GB of RAM.

He's asking whether they will get a performance boost

To answer this question: Unlike they're getting an update, probably not

Its simple. X1 had 10% resources locked for Kinect. They are simply giving developers access to that 10%. There not adding or taking away anything just giving access to it. So if a developer wants to use it its there. But the game has to be coded to use it. So unless a past game gets an update to use it there wont be any improvement.

Its my Xbox GT. Interesting enough someone had Sumothong so I had to add the 01. If your on Xbox feel to add me. I'm a nice enough guy.

The developer will have to release an update. If they don't, there won't be any improvement.

Does that mean developers can disable the global Kinect features too? That's really not clear in the reporting.

Global stuff, like voice commands is not gpu, it is cpu. GPU = Graphics Processing Unit, CPU = Central Processing Unit. Voice is not a graphical thing, I guess.

Yeah, but there is also a gesture to get back to the homepage (or whatever they call it in English) and ge asks whether this will still work or not

They can disable body tracking in the game, but not voice commands and snap functions. As soon as you say "Xbox, home", body tracking switches on again. It's all win, win...

Which bit? If I want to snap a skype video link, that needs the camera. They haven't said whether that'll work or not have they?

There has been a fair shake up though. If they had aimed for a March release, I imagine they could have developed a belter. There was an engineer that alluded to the timescales greatly limiting what they were able to do. Having Sai that, I bought the One, and am getting my money's worth out of it. Loving Max at the moment. Sunset also has me looking forward to Christmas time. I also like the Kinect, shame it went, but I understand why. Trying to get in to Xbox Fitness. Quite an underrated app.

MS really shouldn't have skimped on the XBOX ONE.
There should have been a separate processor and memory for Kinect and the dashboard.

Why is everybody so concerned about the graphics? As long as they don't suck completely I'm ok with it. What I'm more caring about the actual gameplay because this is what defines a good game. Those few extra pixels can go where they came from.

Also if e have to discuss graphics it is not all about the resolution but the at style. A good looking game can be simple, too. Look at limbo for example.

I'd rather they keep the 10% and make system resources even faster. I want zero lag times when switching between apps. Couldn't care less about graphics. My favorite Xbox One game is the 8-bit masterpiece Super Time Force. Game play and OS features are more important, but alas, Sony has once again ruined things, leaving Microsoft with no choice.

Sony has ruined things by putting a superior box on the market?

Assuming you're not a MS shareholder I can't follow that logic.

He's saying they are ruining things by concentrating on the wrong things. Specs are not everything. We've seen these spec wars before with cameras, PC, etc. There is a point of diminishing returns. After a certain point the specs are about marketing and not improving the user experience. Sony released a higher spec'd box, not necessarily a superior box.

I think that Sony has delayed this generation too, not only by not marketing the PS4,or eye at all on medias that I've been exposed to, but also the drm shit to an extent (not embracing the future, yet fully supporting and encouraging indie titles which I assuming are protected in similar fashions?) don't get me wrong however, I'm loving the indie generation, but Xbox and Microsoft have thought to far outside the box and almost failed, yet Sony has offered a boosted PS3 and are seemingly succeeding

Good news, any available resources, even the most minimal, will be a benefit. Bungie claiming this change has helped push destiny further on x1...so that's great

Only two things really matters for games, replay value and depth. If you finish a game in a few days and never want to pick it up again its not worth it, even if it has the slickest graphics of all time.

All this nice Xbox-news and still:

living in gemany, and without all the features like netflix, hulu and so on, it´s just a game-machine that CAN´T show shows. It´s not even microsofts fault! Just try to watch a popular and/or music-video on youtube in germany and the content is by a chance of 90% blocked. I would love to build my entertainment center with Xbox and other MS-Stuff. But in Germany: You don´t buy media, Media buys you! Thank you chancellor Merkel! haschtag Neuland. I just want to yell on my kinect/tv for some series, movies, clips!

But still: great news!

and i´m looking forward to DirectX 12 ;)

Unblock-us, put the DNS in your xbox, then change the console region to US. You are welcome

This is great news guys, even if I'm not much of a "specs" guy( which everyone likes to compare) surely game design and playability is more important that my console is better than yours! What happened to ps3 super high powered system? The same will happen to the ps4.......

Everything is based on the code these games are designed by, as time goes on there will be more efficient methods to create game. Sony have a great machine with better hardware grunt, but I firmly believe MS is leaps ahead of them in the software department and for this reason alone we won't have to worry too much about resolution party for long after this summer. Graphics is no issue if last gen is any indication as to what the potential is for them.

Personally I can't wait for the exclusives on both platforms. Especially next year.

X1 has just gotten shit because the old games run better on PS4 (games made for the old consoles). The hardware is more like the old consoles.  The devs are too lazy to rewrite their games to work well with X1's ESRAM or use MS's cloud.  As the devs learn to code for X1 the playing field will be completely even, if not tilted towards the X1.

For games both consoles are virtually the same and to think that the slight graphics advantage, and I mean slight, won't matter for future games as developers don't want to keep recoding everytime. They want a consistent platform to code for period. So, after that your left with one system that does way more than the other, the Xbox one. That doesn't mean the PS4 is a bad purchase because it's not but it should be $299 not $399.

I got given an Xbox One by MS for unwavering loyalty towards the Xbox brand, and bought a PS4 with the money I'd saved for the Xbox One. Despite MS's console being obviously inferior to Sony's on the technical front, I've played on the Xbox far more as the games released so far are better. Having said that, the console that I've played most this year is the 360; by some way the greatest console I've ever owned (still on my launch console as well, no RROD...yet).

IMHO, XB1 is like windows 8. MSFT needs to start from scarch and maket the Xbox 4K already. Basically similar architecture and this time don't waste time with Kinect.

as the PS4 is ultimately too weak for 4K, the next generation will be here sooner than you think. I already saw a 4K TV at BJ's for what I could get a 1080P screen two years ago. Two years from now, they will be sub 1K devices meaning the demand for a 4K console will finally require a new generation to arrive.

ditch the APU and go for a dedicated GPU. ditch the ESRAM and go for just DDR5 in the card and DDR4 in the system OS memory. The latency of DDR5 doesn't play well with apps and general OS so a split memory architecture like the PC is a no-compromises solution. Make the GPU user-upgradeable so that AMD/Nvidia and their OEMs can offer user upgradeable GPUs for the XB4K. Ditch AMD and go for an intel core CPU made for the console. Maybe one of those Core M's with 14nm process.

be backwards compatible with XB1 and give devs the incentive to release 4K patches for XB1 games that work on the XB4K.


4K TVs won't push for newer consoles because the vast majority of consumers don't know about resolutions, nor do they care. It didn't take long for 1080p to become standard last gen but most gamers were fine playing their 720p (or below) games.

10% is not a major graphical boost in this age of diminishing returns. Also the 10% reserved wasn't just for Kinect, some of the GPU time was also used for the OS and it's snapping capabilities. What this means is developers don't really have access to 100% of the GPU. You'll notice that people from MS say that devs have more access to the GPU and more bandwidth, but don't say devs have access to 100% of the GPU. If they did, it would be a bold faced lie for marketing purposes.

Just an FYI for those that want more accuracy on this info.

and just FYI, 10% is all it took to get destiny to 1080p. And when you consider that 10% amounts to 1.2 compute units. That is a SIGNIFICANT boost.

No it isn't.  We also don't know if it was purely the GPU resources, bandwidth, or both that originally stopped it from reaching 1080p. 


I'm not saying that every little bit helps, but I wouldn't describe this as a "major" or even significant boost.  Also like I said before, devs DO NOT have access to all of the GPU, some is still reserved for the OS and kept away from the developers.  The same can be said for the PS3, 360, PS4, or any other system that has an OS (and UI) running in the background.


I know this is a microsoft centric site, and judging by the other comments here, plenty here are drinking the kool-aid.  However, it would be nice for people to put bias and ignorance aside to live in reality every once in a while.