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Microsoft Confirms Disconnecting Kinect Gives Devs 10% More GPU Horsepower

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the remove-airbags-install-rollcage dept.

XBox (Games) 174

MojoKid (1002251) writes 'Microsoft confirmed a development rumor that's been swirling around its next-generation console ever since it announced Kinect would become an optional add-on rather than a mandatory boat anchor. Lifting that requirement will give game developers 10 percent additional graphics power to play with and help close the gap between the Xbox One and PS4. The story kicked off when Xbox head Phil Spencer tweeted that June's Xbox One dev kit gave devs access to more GPU bandwidth. Further, another Microsoft representative then confirmed that the performance improvement coming in the next version of the Xbox SDK was the result of making Kinect an optional accessory. No matter how Microsoft may try to spin it, cancelling Kinect isn't just a matter of giving game developers freedom, it's a tacit admission that game developers have no significant projects in play that are expected to meaningfully tap Kinect to deliver a great game experience — and they need those GPU cycles back.' Also on the Xbox capabilities front: Reader BogenDorpher (2008682) writes 'In August of last year, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the Xbox One controller will be compatible for PC users sometime in 2014. That time has finally come. Windows gamers can now use the Xbox One controller to play games on their computer. If a game supports a USB gamepad or the Xbox 360 controller, it will also support the Xbox One controller.'

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Poor experience for those that do have kinect (5, Insightful)

Whatanut (203397) | about 7 months ago | (#47172501)

Doesn't that then lead to a bad situation for kinect users? If you design a game that relies on that overhead, then those that don't have it will have a poor experience. Granted, you can probably just disconnect the kinect and be just fine. Be all know what the general masses will do. Complain.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172657)

I don't see why they games can't programmically signal it doesn't need kinect which causes the system to automatically not use it. After all, it's being work into a new sdk which probably means an update for users anyways. I would be surprise if this wasn't the case.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (4, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | about 7 months ago | (#47172681)

I think it's more "if you compile your game without Kinect, you will have access to that processing slice and Kinect won't". Whether the hardware is physically there or not is irrelevant to the reserved processor time.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (3, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 7 months ago | (#47173757)

Well, that would be the logical way to do it. But this is Microsoft. They did release the system with a mandatory accessory that's hardly ever used, and takes away 10% of all processing power automatically. So, logic might not be something they are particularity familiar with.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#47174225)

In this case, it would actually make some sense: the Xbone uses the Kinect for more than just gameplay. IIRC, the voice recognition stuff all goes through the connect, plus stuff as basic as signing into the box when it turns on.

That's my biggest complaint with my Xbone right now: sign-in every time I turn it own blows goats unless I have the Kinect attached. And it didn't when I bought it - the goat blowing was an update. Stop the goat-blowing updates MS, sheesh!

Poor experience for those that do have kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172711)

This is a terribly written story that doesn't mean what the title implies it means.

Microsoft is giving game developers the option to opt-out of gesture tracking if they aren't using it. If the developer opts out, they get those GPU cycles back to use in their game, regardless of whether the Kinect is attached or not.

I don't think you can opt out of the system speech recognition, but you may gain a few cycles if you opt out of including extra grammars for your game.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172729)

You could just shut down Kinect automatically when the game does not need it. It'd make sense to have that even in the older versions, at least after software updates.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#47172945)

Granted, you can probably just disconnect the kinect and be just fine.

I guess then Kinect won't respond to voice commands for a while. But then, it never really did before either. I guess you will know when you have to yell "Xbox Off" 30 times instead of the normal 25.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#47173317)

So, just for fun, you can yell "Xbox Off OK OK" in somebody's house when they're just about to finish something REALLY difficult? Good to know.

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (1)

Splab (574204) | about 6 months ago | (#47173873)

Or just get them to do it themselves...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

(Be careful with soundlevel, it varies a lot and almost blew my ears off :-) )

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173319)

It might only take you one time if you use the right command of "Xbox Turn Off".

Re:Poor experience for those that do have kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47174357)

And yet, 99% of the time, it won't.
There's plenty of evidence of it not working, even in perfect conditions. James Rolfe (aka. Angry Video Game Nerd) and Mike Matte did a video bashing how the Xbox's Kinect didn't work worth a damn and would not listen to their voice commands, so they ended up playing old-school games instead. Likewise, the Super Best Friends were bashing the Kinect on their podcast while recording in the same room with it. They each tried giving it the proper voice commands, varied tones, quiet room, speaking clearly and concisely, and yet it ignored every command. Anthony Cumia, of Opie and Anthony fame, has also shared his experience with the Kinect while live on the radio.

There's plenty of other well-known people or groups that have had the exact same issues. Funny enough, I have yet to hear a single person to say it actually works well. Yet, the fanboys continue to say everyone is lying about it.

Interesting wrinkle (1, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 months ago | (#47172507)

Does anyone think that it is interesting that the Kinect requires 10% GPU resources and not 10% CPU resources? Was MS using the GPU to handle processing because it would drain the CPU more?

Re:Interesting wrinkle (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47172567)

Or, maybe the kinds of tasks the Kinect is doing are best suited for the GPU?

Since it's motion tracking and vision, that sounds like graphics to me.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (4, Insightful)

sg_oneill (159032) | about 7 months ago | (#47172571)

Not really. The Kinect mostly is about image processing and highly parallel vector processing is just what that sort of application requires.

It would have been stranger if it DIDNT rely on the GPU.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (2)

mestar (121800) | about 7 months ago | (#47173217)

And uses random forests to identify humans in the 3d space it sees, and also locate 3d positions of ten or twenty of their body parts. Just some details of what 10% does.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#47172573)

Does anyone think that it is interesting that the Kinect requires 10% GPU resources and not 10% CPU resources? Was MS using the GPU to handle processing because it would drain the CPU more?

That was my thought. Why not an architecture to handle Kinect processing independently? Not being a hardware guy, it might be a stupid question.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 7 months ago | (#47172635)

GPUs are pretty good at image processing tasks. They're designed to do two things - process vertices in parallel, and process pixels in parallel. Image processing is all about processing pixels.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

avandesande (143899) | about 7 months ago | (#47172683)

Then the xbox would cost even more....

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 7 months ago | (#47173593)

As 91degrees says, GPUs are pretty damn good at image-processing tasks like this. It might be possible to have a dedicated kinect chip, depending on how much flexibility you want, but that would increase system complexity for no obvious advantage - that would be money better spent on just making the GPU go faster.

The obvious advantage of the make-the-GPU-go-faster approach is what we're now seeing: non-Kinect applications now have access to more GPU power than before. If MS had gone with a dedicated image-processing chip, it would just be going to waste in these applications.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#47173663)

Thanks, that makes total sense.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 7 months ago | (#47172601)

well, for one thing, it's probably constantly running the frames from the two cameras through some kind of GPU filter. I've done some computer vision stuff, and a common technique is to use the gpu to take the difference between a couple frames. That operation isn't super taxing on the gpu, but it does require a lot of sending data to and from the gpu, That bandwidth is always pretty scarce. They are most likely also using some GPGPU techniques to crunch a whole lot of numbers comparing what's in frame to their dataset of human poses.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 7 months ago | (#47172621)

The kind of processing done for the Kinect is well suited a GPU: facial recognition, skeleton tracking, hand tracking, voice recognition. These feature use a lot of matrix math, geometric algorithms, and signal processing... stuff you want to do on a highly parallel processing architecture. So yeah, doing them on a serial architecture like an x86 CPU would be much more taxing.

Re:Interesting wrinkle (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#47173273)

Being that Connect has two high resolution camera's that does some fairly advance stuff like finding where you face and other body parts are, interpret gestures and what not. It seem that the GPU will do a lot of the work.

Oddly enough back in the olden days the CPU was the major player, today a lot of processing is going to the GPU to do most of the work.

No kinect = manual password entry :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172513)

I still haven't hooked my kinect up yet. Tho' it's a pita having to type in my secure XBL password *every time*

Ads. (0, Offtopic)

ledow (319597) | about 7 months ago | (#47172525)

Great,

Can anyone tell me why, as a subscriber with the "Disable Advertising" button, I keep getting ads at the top of Slashdot, not matter the status of the button? Only happened the last few days.

Pretty sure the terms of what I paid for say I shouldn't be seeing it, even years after paying.

Re:Ads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172569)

Because you're a sucker.

Re:Ads. (0)

ledow (319597) | about 7 months ago | (#47172625)

Yeah, how dare I pay an absolute pittance to support what was a brilliant and unique site nearly - what - 10 years ago?

To be honest, not really that bothered about the money (it was less than $10 I think), but the cheek of ignoring it is annoying enough to make me go elsewhere.

Re:Ads. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172829)

This site's been garbage for a very long time. still just here due to inertia and the fact I've been hanging out here since the 90s. I just refuse to log in now.

Re:Ads. (1, Offtopic)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 7 months ago | (#47172585)

I've been seeing ads for a while now with Disable Advertising checked. At first it was just the ad under the story and the annoying pop up ad at the bottom of the screen. Unchecking and checking again would make them go away. Now all the ads are enabled and re-checking the box does nothing.

Seriously, this shit is incredibly annoying. The ads are obnoxious, gigantic, and intrusive. I've got a little checkbox that says "Thanks again for helping make Slashdot great!" under it, and it does nothing. So where's the thanks, exactly? Definitely not feeling it.

Re:Ads. (0)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47172637)

I have the button checked. But I also run AdBlock and other extensions all the time anyway.

Because Google ad services, Google analytics, Google tag services, RPX Now and Scorecard research can all go pound sand, and won't get loaded on ANY page I visit.

Re:Ads. (0)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 7 months ago | (#47172699)

I typically don't use adblock. In general, I don't mind most ads. If a site has really bad ads that are intrusive and annoying, I just avoid it. There's enough content on the web. But it was Slashdot's idea to say "Hey, if you stick around and make comments, and the community thinks you're adding to the discussion, then we won't show you any ads" and that's been the agreement. So as the ads Slashdot displays get larger and more numerous and more intrusive, when they don't hold up to that agreement it's very frustrating, because I frequent this site a lot and would rather not move on because of the ads.

Re:Ads. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47172733)

So the lesson is: Dice Holdings are greedy bastards, film at 11.

My problem with ads, and trackers and all that crap is on some pages there's about 50 external entities which all know when you visit.

I have no arrangement with those external entities, and I'm not willing to allow them to track everything I do. HTTP Swicthboard in Chrome is pretty awesome for that.

If a site serves its own ads, fine. But if they come from a bunch of tracking companies which want to harvest my surfing data, absolutely not.

Re:Ads. (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47172841)

Same here. I thought a Google Chrome extension was injecting ads, because I'd disable the extension and hit refresh and the ads would disappear, then re-enable and hit refresh and there they were again. Turned out I could leave the extension alone and intermittently get ads (lol...)

Re:Ads. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173095)

You might want to run Spyhunter 4 on your machine.

Re:Ads. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#47173147)

Just block all the ads from your hosts file on your router that way all your devices will have faster internet.

http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.txt [mvps.org]

Re:Ads. (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 7 months ago | (#47173461)

Great,

Can anyone tell me why, as a subscriber with the "Disable Advertising" button, I keep getting ads at the top of Slashdot, not matter the status of the button? Only happened the last few days.

Pretty sure the terms of what I paid for say I shouldn't be seeing it, even years after paying.

I have noticed that when browsing with my tablet I thought it was just the general state of brokenness with mobile browsers, because I had the box checked (with it unchecked the animated ads would often crash the browser.) Glad to know its not my browser just slashdots evil dice overlords being evil fucktards. My guess is they are trying to slowly break the traditional view to drive people to BETA.

Re:Ads. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#47173947)

Great,

Can anyone tell me why, as a subscriber with the "Disable Advertising" button, I keep getting ads at the top of Slashdot, not matter the status of the button? Only happened the last few days.

Pretty sure the terms of what I paid for say I shouldn't be seeing it, even years after paying.

Because:
Dice.com
You're not running an ad blocker
You were dumb enough to pay for Slashdot, so they assume you're dumb enough to sit through more ads regardless of your choice

MS likely screwed themselves over (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 7 months ago | (#47172533)

I bet support for the Xbox One controller would've come out much sooner, had Microsoft not been responsible for horrible controller support on PC games. Most games on Steam that support a controller are hardcoded for the Xbox 360 controller - using anything else requires a hack like MotionInJoy or XPadder. Even the ones that do support non-MS controllers will only display button prompts in terms of the X360 controller. This is, of course, because most games these days are multi-platform with consoles as the lead platform, and usually the PC port is a port of the X360 version.

With the way MS forced the X360 controller on PC, it's no wonder it took them forever to make a compatible driver.

Re:MS likely screwed themselves over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172763)

So PC game makers should include button images for every controller out there? Or just the ones Joe Gillian uses? The xbox controller is supported on PC most because it is a superior controller.

Fuck off.

Re:MS likely screwed themselves over (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47172869)

Microsoft not been responsible for horrible controller support on PC games

How is Micro$oft responsible for that? Game developers are responsible for controller support, not Micro$oft. Try writing some game input code.

Re:MS likely screwed themselves over (1)

Junta (36770) | about 7 months ago | (#47173519)

MotionInJoy

Dear god no. MotionInJoy is the insufferable ball of crap I dealt with before the driver here:
http://forums.pcsx2.net/Thread... [pcsx2.net]

Was available.

Controllers for PC? (3, Interesting)

thedonger (1317951) | about 7 months ago | (#47172537)

From the summary:

'In August of last year, a Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the Xbox One controller will be compatible for PC users sometime in 2014. That time has finally come. Windows gamers can now use the Xbox One controller to play games on their computer. If a game supports a USB gamepad or the Xbox 360 controller, it will also support the Xbox One controller.'

That is interesting given that my brother and my cousin - both big into gaming - use PC-style controls with their Xbox because they feel it gives them an edge over users of the Xbox controller.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172789)

For shooters and the like a mouse and keyboard is clearly superior. For practically everything else a gamepad is the better open. Playing something like GTA or a platformer like Super Meat Boy with a game pad is the way to go.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172895)

Aiming in GTA is much easier with a mouse.

Re:Controllers for PC? (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | about 7 months ago | (#47173481)

I will happily switch back and forth between controller and keyboard. RAGE was a game that controlled better with mouse and keyboard while shooting, but the driving felt a lot better with a controller.

I don't mind having to switch if the game is fun - and it's kind of neat getting to swap between input mechanisms.

The game was bad though.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47174273)

How about real time strategy and city building and other simulator games? And some less popular genres like adventure games (not to mention text adventure games).

I have played driving games on a keyboard and it works well enough. 3D platformers, sure, those work a lot better with a game pad, and so do 2D platformers requiring many (but not too many) buttons. For some types of SHMUP games controller is clearly superior, too.

Overall, I would say keyboard + mouse is as versatile or even more versatile than gamepads. Both devices have some genres in which they work a lot better than the other, so which one is better definitely depends on the game.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172937)

Well your brother and cousin are cheaters then! Using a mouse on an Xbox FPS is considered cheating because it is such an advantage, it requires modded hardware and will earn an XBox Live/game ban if they are caught.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47174169)

That's pretty stupid. People should be allowed to use the input device they like.

Re:Controllers for PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173159)

Keyboard/mouse control corner more tightly then controllers. Any controller.

This is a well known issue and is a big challenge when you want you PC users to play along with console users.
Smart design limits the mouse/keyboard control to that of a controllers turn radius to keep the playing field level.

Post AC, becasue of the posting limit. Weeks will go by where I hardy post, then there will be a serious of interesting article all at once, and suddenly I am limited by a total. So 5 posts in 10 stories in 24 hours and boop, no more posting.

sigh.

Re:Controllers for PC? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47173203)

First, you can't simply plug a mouse and keyboard into an xbox (any version) and get "PC-style" controls. Aside from the fact that the hardware won't allow it unless the unit is modded, the games are designed for analog input which doesn't translate very well to mouse and keys. IF they are somehow doing that, then they are actually putting themselves at a disadvantage. Second, people generally don't use controllers on a PC for competitive games like FPS's (although fighters are an exception). I personally use them any time a game is obviously just a bad console port, and things like the UI and menus weren't designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind. It's a lot more common than I'd like.

Re:Controllers for PC? (1)

LordNimon (85072) | about 7 months ago | (#47173699)

That is interesting given that my brother and my cousin - both big into gaming - use PC-style controls with their Xbox because they feel it gives them an edge over users of the Xbox controller.

This doesn't make any sense. There are no PC-style controllers that work on an Xbox. You can plug in a keyboard and a mouse, but they work very poorly on an Xbox. Now, there are third-party controllers that have some enhancements (extra buttons in different locations, etc). But I would not call them "PC-style" controllers.

Re:Controllers for PC? (1)

radtea (464814) | about 7 months ago | (#47173707)

That is interesting given that my brother and my cousin - both big into gaming - use PC-style controls with their Xbox because they feel it gives them an edge over users of the Xbox controller

Which raises the burning question: why is anyone reporting user feelings rather than actual data to /.? It's the 21st century... surely by now everyone on here knows that how people feel and what is actually going on are almost completely decoupled.

Some people "feel" that wifi is interfering with their qi, even though the data show that no such effect occurs (that is, no one is able to tell if wifi signals are turned on based on such feelings.)

Ten years ago a surgeon I know worked on a study of post-operative pain in people with knee implants to see if different implants made a difference to patient outcome. While there were some objective measures (range of motion, etc) that showed a correlation with a suspect implant, simply asking patients about pain revealed only one thing: how much they liked their surgeon.

Psychology literature is full of things like this: it is an uncontroversial fact that what we feel is a lousy indicator of anything except our own internal state. Feelings are facts. They are just facts about us. While sometimes facts about us are important, they are a terrible gauge of anything else. Reporting feelings as if they were relevant to the actual edge a player has is exactly like saying, "My brother and my cousin--both big into gaming--use PC-style controls with their Xbox because the are both six feet tall, so they say this gives them an edge over users of the Xbox controller". "Being six feet tall" is a fact about them, just like "feeling it gives them an edge" is a fact about them. It is not a fact about the rest of the world (that is, their actual performance).

I'm being long-winded and pedantic about this (because hey, this is /.) but the parent was such a nice example of this extremely common failure mode in human thinking (confusing facts about ourselves with facts about the rest of reality) that it was too good an opportunity to pass up. That's how I feel about it, anyway...

Xbone has been a disaster from the start (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172553)

Next time, let your engineers spec the console up for you instead of the Marketing Department.

10%... as a dev (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172575)

It still doesn't close the gap between PS4 and Xbox One. Our biggest challenge is that we have to parallel develop everything in the asset pipeline such that it isn't a vastly different experience. The PS4 is much quicker for almost everything.

Why the hyperbole? (5, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47172627)

No matter how Microsoft may try to spin it, cancelling Kinect isn't just a matter of giving game developers freedom, it's a tacit admission that game developers have no significant projects in play that are expected to meaningfully tap Kinect to deliver a great game experience

First, Kinect isn't cancelled.

Second, it isn't a tacit admission that game developers have no games coming out that meaningfully use the Kinect because game developers that need Kinect for their game simply keep using it (because it isn't cancelled...)

It's really just what they should have done in the beginning, allowed developers to use the GPU the way they wish. I fully expect devs to allow users to pause their game, which re-enables Kinect support in order to allow me to perform whatever non-game actions I wish to initiate (like answering a Skype call.)

What's the big hairy deal?

Like the PS4? Buy one, enjoy.
Like the XBox One? Buy one, enjoy.

Christ, get over yourselves.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (0)

thall777 (145842) | about 7 months ago | (#47172677)

Kinect is dead. Get over it and get over yourself.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47172795)

Does it still exist? Do they still make games for it?

Then it really isn't dead.

In our house, Kinect is pretty much only used for my wife's dancing games to exercise in the winter.

For that, it's kind of a fun (if not dorky looking) thing.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (2)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47172805)

Really?

I use mine every time I watch Netflix, the family uses it to Skype, and for some family games, I also no longer need a headset to chat to other players online.

The kids have their own 360 with Kinect that they use all the time, and the wife uses for workouts. This will likely translate over to the XBox One as well.

You sound like an idiot.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#47173043)

I still use my Wii for parties. Doesn't mean it's not dead.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47173425)

Yes, that's a valid comparison, the Wii hardware ecosystem versus the Kinect hardware ecosystem. :)

Re:Why the hyperbole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173281)

Somehow I got this picture while reading your comment - colorful happy family enjoying all their MS products together laughing and having fantastic.. no wait, fabulastic time when all of sudden distinct sharp "click" comes from the other part of the room - it's grandma clicking her Surface RT tablet into radiant-blue keyboard! ... and you can't help yourself but think - oh my good, I WANT ALL THAT!!!!

Then the game is back on and all you think about is another beer...

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47173779)

The only Micro$oft products in our house are the XBox One, the 360, and a triple boot dev box with OSX, Windows 7, and OpenSUSE. Android and iOS devices are used for everything else.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173139)

You appear to be insane. Kinect isn't dead, there's just a serious problem with your ability to reach rational conclusions. You then had to be a nut who tells a reality based person to get over themselves because they didn't fit your delusional alternate reality. Sad.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172807)

Kinect died the moment they made it optional. The only way developers are going to take the risk of investing heavily in Kinect development is if they know that the entire user base has one. Now that it is optional it will suffer the same fate as virtually every other optional gimmic in the history of gaming. Lackluster support and fading into obscurity.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173131)

Furthermore, how the F does it come as a surprise to people at /. that the type of processing needed for Kinect is expensive?

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47173265)

You could consider it unofficially cancelled. See, if developers know that only a small percentage of the user-base has a Kinect, then they won't spend a lot of time coming up with creative ways to use the hardware. And then without compelling reason to buy a Kinect, new customers will continue to choose the XBox without one and save $100. So it will effectively cancel the project.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

mckwant (65143) | about 7 months ago | (#47173501)

Even worse, you have a situation where people with Kinects disconnect them. Then your Skype / NetFlix / "XBox Bing Whatever" experience gains a "hook up the Kinect" step, and the XBox One isn't the centerpiece of your living room rig any more.

Re:Why the hyperbole? (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47173523)

That's like saying Kinect was cancelled on XBox 360 the day it was released because it was optional. Excellent logic.

See, if developers know that only a small percentage of the user-base has a Kinect, then they won't spend a lot of time coming up with creative ways to use the hardware.

See, if developers know that more than 4 million XBox Ones are out there with a Kinect (as of now), they they will spend a lot of time coming up with creative ways to use the hardware...

Re:Why the hyperbole? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173561)

no man, I mowed lawns all summer of 1991 for that SNES and I'm gonna defend it to the death because I'm a 10 year old in a 30 year old body

We seem to be missing a command here... (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 7 months ago | (#47172629)

Where's "Option Iginore Kinect" or whatever it should be in the programming language they use there? Is this saying Kinect is always on, even if it isn't running anything for the game?

Re:We seem to be missing a command here... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#47172845)

Is this saying Kinect is always on, even if it isn't running anything for the game?

Of course it is, that way the XBone can constantly send Microsoft your viewing data.

Interesting considering they pretty said from the beginning it was mandatory and couldn't be disabled.

This is just Microsoft changing their direction with this yet again.

Re:We seem to be missing a command here... (1)

tapi0 (2805569) | about 7 months ago | (#47172927)

Well yes, what would happen when you say "xbox play dead rising" launch the game and then say "xbox snap Skype" ( or "xbox home" etc) if the game suddenly overrides and disables your peripheral? Or using the feature to recognise new players as they come and sit on the couch, sign them in and allow them to join in.
none of these are game features, but require the Kinect to be running for background tasks.
if you don't want it, then don't buy it or don't plug it in and then the console has some extra room to play with, but don't allow games (or apps) to disable it as it will interrupt the desired UI.

Re:We seem to be missing a command here... (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 7 months ago | (#47173163)

Uhm... this doesn't sound like Visual Basic or Objective C here! Listening for "Did my user say a command recently?" Doesn't need 10% of a processor chip.

this has nothing to do with making kinect optional (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172649)

It has been known for months that this change was coming. The xbox one currently reserves about 10% of GPU power for the Kinect even it is not used by the game. The only thing that is changing is that the game developer will be able to indicate if they are using the Kinect or not. If not they will be able to use those additional gpu resources for whatever they want. So this has nothing to do with making the Kinect optional. Even people with a Kinect will get this performance boost in games that don't use the Kinect.

Re:this has nothing to do with making kinect optio (-1)

tapi0 (2805569) | about 7 months ago | (#47172953)

damnit, just posted so can't use my mod points. Annoyingly this will get buried rather than the 'interesting' or 'insightful' it should have.

Re:this has nothing to do with making kinect optio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173415)

great so the camera can't watch you playing certain games. That spells doom for NSA and additional MS ad engine.

Re:this has nothing to do with making kinect optio (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47173965)

but there kinect will become a brick while they are playing those games and not respond to all the voice commands that were the primary marketing feature of people originally buying the Xbone.

they got you in the door.... now prepare to have your nuts cut off.

Phil Spector (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172651)

I can't believe they let that guy play xbone...
He is supposed to be serving a 19 year prison sentence...

Doesn't mean games can assume 10% more CPU (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 7 months ago | (#47172687)

Games have to work whether the device is there or not. In other words they have to function in the worst case. It'll only be if Microsoft delivers a firmware update that allows a game to completely turn off the Kinect and free up all reserved CPU, GPU and memory that they can be sure to make use of it.

Anyway it's not uncommon for consoles to be quite conservative and reserve more resources than they need (as a form of future proofing) and loosen up as the firmware matures. I'm sure Sony holds some CPU back too for stuff and might also have some slack it can give back.

ANYONE knows this that "tweaks" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172745)

I wrote the VERY FIRST guides for it circa 1997 for Windows NT-based OS's (then featured @ NTCompatible.com) & of course turning off services not only saves CPU cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O used by them, but IT ALSO LESSENS the kernelmode ProcessScheduler component's workload - AVOIDING "process thrashing", as Dr. Mark Russinovich called it.

APK

P.S.=> IF you don't NEED a particular service(s)? Turn it OFF, & gain... I do it, as you ALL doubtless know, with the DNS clientside slower usermode caching service (since it is FAULTY WITH LARGER HOSTS FILES), saving those cpu cycles, RAM, & other forms of I/O it uses in slower usermode... instead, I substitute KERNELMODE subsystems to do its job in that case (diskcache & tcp/ip stack), which are faster, not faulty with large hosts, & higher CPU priveleged (thus faster, receiving MORE CPU priority/cycles because of kernelmode ops)... I've also been doing THAT with TONS OF SERVICES on these OS... sure, MS sets it up so it "all just works' but it's WASTEFUL, if you don't need those services period - it'd be akin to walking around ALL DAY & brushing your teeth, when you only need to do it in the a.m. & nighttime... apk

XBox Controller...what? (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 7 months ago | (#47172783)

| "Windows gamers can now use the Xbox One controller to play games on their computer. If a game supports a USB gamepad or the Xbox 360 controller, it will also support the Xbox One controller."

Patently stupid. Any Windows game can be played with almost any controller using a key mapper (I personally use XPadder).

Re:XBox Controller...what? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47173299)

And I can just plug an Xbox 360 controller into my computer, and it works. I don't need a key mapper or anything, and most games come with controller support anyway, so the correct prompts and stuff show up in-game.

Re:XBox Controller...what? (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 7 months ago | (#47173353)

The mapper is for custom settings. I have my own layout of movement and menu functions that let me play away with my left thumb on a 360 pad with right hand totally free (like reaching for beer). The controller configs I've seen from native out-of-the-box support are generally still stuck in the X-wing joystick era.

Re:XBox Controller...what? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47173483)

So obviously you have special reason for wanting to use a mapper program. Most people don't, which is why you're "patently stupid" remark makes no sense.

Re:XBox Controller...what? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#47173329)

Unfortunately, it's getting to be nearly impossible to play any PC game with an actual PC gamepad anymore. My Logitechs are gathering dust except for the occasional MAME game (and even then only Player 3 since I have homemade arcade joysticks).

Not surprising (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 7 months ago | (#47172801)

I am not at all shocked that the Kinect eats GPU power. Machine vision isn't exactly computationally light, there is a lot of math to run on each frame plus the I/O overhead. They have to run those algorithms on something and my guess is they used DirectCompute to utilize the GPU to save money on hardware.

They could use a dedicated DSP in the Kinect but that would drive up the cost of the Kinect making it an overpriced and unappealing accessory. A quick check on Digikey for the Analog Devices Sharc DSP reveals that even a 450MHz chip costs about $32 in quantity. Perhaps there is a higher performance DSP that is cheaper but you also have to factor in the cost of memory for it and other ancillary components. It can easily add $50+ to the hardware cost. I know its a VERY rough guesstimate but it illustrates why dedicated processing in the Kinect is not utilized. Another thing to consider is using the GPU gives more flexibility in designing newer and better algorithms which might be constrained by a DSP with limited performance.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 7 months ago | (#47172943)

Presumably the Kinect exports motion maps (probably skeletal) that are generated in the device itself via DSP. The spatial analysis on those motion maps is likely done on the GPU.

Are consoles dead? Near the last generation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47172949)

Looking at the numbers, this generation has been a complete flop compared to the last, the big 3 have sold about 1/5th as many consoles and about 1/8th as many games as the last generation. No way to catch up at this point, the systems are already falling behind. So do they double down or accept that mobile is going to eat their lunches?

Re:Are consoles dead? Near the last generation? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 7 months ago | (#47173285)

Casual gamers are moving to tablets and phones, while hardcore gamers play PC games. There's not much room left for consoles, particularly when the new generation are just low-end gaming PCs.

Re:Are consoles dead? Near the last generation? (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 7 months ago | (#47173777)

this generation has been a complete flop

You can tell that after only 7 months? The PS4 and Xbox One just came out last November, remember?

So do they double down or accept that mobile is going to eat their lunches?

Mobile is a different market, no one is going to give up the full console experience for Angry Birds.

Even the phone/tablet and portable consoles (PSP/Vita/DS) are different markets. People playing Monster Hunter on the Vita or Animal Crossing on the DS aren't going to give up those kinds of experiences for your typical tablet game.

Horrible efficiency (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 months ago | (#47172975)

That is a horrible efficiency loss for something that is doing NOTHING. I can't imagine what kind of dumb-ass code resides in the Kinect device driver to make it that bad.

Re:Horrible efficiency (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#47173323)

It's a loss when it's doing nothing, but the device is supposed to be ready to do something at a moments notice. It has to be able to listen for voice commands and watch for certain movements and stuff. More importantly, it has to be able to do that without suddenly dropping performance in game because you decided to tell it to throw a grenade. Basically, even when you think it's doing nothing, it's still doing a lot of stuff. Of course, without Kinect being mandatory, games will start using those GPU cycles, and then the Kinect really will be doing nothing.

Re:Horrible efficiency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47173987)

OK, nothing useful, then.

Re:Horrible efficiency (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#47173467)

Processing speech and images?

Re:Horrible efficiency (1)

DrGamez (1134281) | about 7 months ago | (#47173713)

It's not doing nothing.

You've got a real simplistic idea of what the Kinect does, even if I agree with your sentiment that the Kinect is bad/useless.

Dirty shills denied NSA Xbox spying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#47173221)

While the Xbox One is connected to the mains, sleep-mode or fully 'on', the NSA Kinect2 spying functionality is fully powered and processing data at somewhat over 10% of the consoles total computational ability. A standard power meter shows MASSIVE power use compared to Sony's PS4 when in so called 'sleep' mode.

Bill Gates forced Microsoft to spend many billions of dollars buying the companies whose technologies would eventually power the Kinect2. This was only a small part of Gates' work on the FULL SURVEILLANCE society. Simultaneously, Gates was the major driving force behind Common Core and the inBloom database system that he crafted in partnership with Rupert "Fox News" Murdoch. YES, you sheeple, despite what the propagandists tell you about Gates and Murdoch being on opposite ends of the political spectrum, in reality these two very powerful elites are firm friends and share exactly the same goals.

Recently, even the sheeple learnt that the NSA and GCHQ have massive projects designed to gather and process every available facial image on the Internet, or via the mobile phone networks. Kinect2 default spying (active while the Xbox One has power) photographs every person in the room, and uploads facial recognition quality mug-shots to NSA servers 'disguised' within Microsoft's cloud. The location, and thus the address of the console is known (ISPs are required, by Law, to provide accurate geo-location information to the security services for all given IP address at any given time). By knowing the location where the Xbox console made the mug-shots, accurate identification of the individuals becomes far easier.

Of course, Xbox One spying activity is vastly more sophisticated than merely photographing your face (even in the 'dark). Hopefully, you have seen the unsubtle ruination of various high profile individuals, by revealing 'politically incorrect' behaviour or conversations from their past. Kinect2 is specifically designed to gather BLACKMAIL material speculatively, to feed into the NSA and GCHQ blackmail database- a facility that does NOT target individuals at the moment of collection, but exists in-case said individual becomes 'important' at some point in the future, and there is a need to coerce him or her.

More disturbing is the ability of the NSA to upload new spying systems to whole groups of Xbox One consoles (say, for instance, all the Xbox consoles owned by Muslims in a give US community). A simple spoken sentiment in one's own home is enough to allow agents of America's police state to force a Muslim person to become an 'informer' for Obama.

Bill Gates is a living horror, but to be fair, he doesn't hide his megalomaniacal eugenicist vision for those he and his mates describe as 'lesser' Humans. It is no act of hypocrisy for Gates to seek compulsory Common Core dumbing-down for YOUR kids, while ensuring his children get a VERY different education- after all his kids are set to be the masters of yours.

Gimmicky toys don't compensate for gameplay (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 months ago | (#47173493)

Look back in the history of gaming. You will invariably stumble upon various attempts at more "immersive" input systems rather than mouse, keyboard and gamepad... and invariably, they all sucked donkey balls. They were gimmicky and "new", a select few of them were maybe even fun to use or enjoyable, or they offered some sort of interesting gameplay experience for a while, at least 'til that "new car smell" was gone, but in the end, they sucked.

Why?

Because an input device should first and foremost be one thing: A translation of what the player wants to do into a form the game can understand. That has to be as precise and complete as possible for it to be enjoyable by the player. Players enjoy having control over what they are supposedly controlling in a game. Sluggish controls and a bad user interface, any player will agree, are often game crippling. If the difficulty of the game consists of actually controlling what you're doing, the game is not enjoyable. The controls should be easy and precise, and the difficulty should come from having to use that precise control to overcome the obstacles presented.

And that's where the problem with the various input devices lies: They lack precision. It is usually more complicated to get the game to do what you want than actually playing the game. In the end this means that games that rely on various gimmicky input devices have to be dumbed down and "made easy", to the point where, when you somehow manage to play those games with a "normal" controller/keyboard/mouse, they instantly become trivially easy to beat.

That is not what's enjoyable. The game has to be the challenge. Not the input device.

curious measurement (1)

xmousex (661995) | about 7 months ago | (#47173535)

Not just more power, not just more cycles, not just more mhz, but actual 'horsepower'. Neat.

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