Microsoft Allows Developer Use of Kinect-Reserved Shaders

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2014 - 04:32 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox one, xbone, gpgpu, GCN

Shortly after the Kinect deprecation, Microsoft has announced that a 10% boost in GPU performance will be coming to Xbox One. This, of course, is the platform allowing developers to avoid the typical overhead which Kinect requires for its various tasks. Updated software will allow game developers to regain some or all of that compute time back.

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Still looks like Wall-E grew a Freddie Mercury 'stache.

While it "might" (who am I kidding?) be used to berate Microsoft for ever forcing the Kinect upon users in the first place, this functionality was planned from before launch. Pre-launch interviews stated that Microsoft was looking into scheduling their compute tasks while the game was busy, for example, hammering the ROPs and leaving the shader cores idle. This could be that, and only that, or it could be a bit more if developers are allowed to opt out of most or all Kinect computations altogether.

The theoretical maximum GPU compute and shader performance of the Xbox One GPU is still about 29% less than its competitor, the PS4. Still, 29% less is better than about 36% less. Not only that, but the final result will always come down to the amount of care and attention spent on any given title by its developers. This will give them more breathing room, though.

Then, of course, the PC has about 3x the shader performance of either of those systems in a few single-GPU products. Everything should be seen in perspective.

Source: Eurogamer

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June 7, 2014 | 10:39 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The PC perspective? LOL

June 7, 2014 | 11:30 AM - Posted by Immensebrick (not verified)

Omg I was just to make the pc perspective pun. Well done sir, you beat me to it.

June 7, 2014 | 12:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Shame a PC could have 10x the shader count and performance of a console, as we've already seen with 360/PS3. It doesn't matter. Most games will still be ported and will run like absolute trash despite the raw power being multiples of the console its ported from.

PC's are basically just console emulators and we all know how much emulators suck.

June 7, 2014 | 06:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Get a load of this guy!

June 7, 2014 | 07:14 PM - Posted by Hirogen6 (not verified)

Unfortunately, he's right. A lot of the games I've played recently that should run magnificently on my system, are kinda meh, due to being rather poorly optimized console ports.

June 8, 2014 | 02:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes emulators are not the best way, but when you are talking about legacy code written for earlier console systems that are based on different instruction set architectures(ISA) then emulators are the only affordable way of running the legacy games, short of re-porting/refactoring the entire legacy gaming engines, and SDKs. This should not be a problem going forward now that the console APUs are x86 based, and any native code based APIs/gaming engines/SDK should transfer to the next APU generation with very little modifications, as long as the APIs are backwards compatible for the x86 based gaming APUs. This will also hold true for the ARM based mobile systems, as the APIs/gaming engines/SDKs will/are being developed for the mobile market, and the ARM ISA is used in the majority of mobile tablet/phone based gaming engines.

Android is an Emulated/Simulated cross platform (ISA in software/VM) OS that operates on top of the Linux kernel, same for java, and the scripting languages on more than just x86, and ARM based systems/SOCs. There are emulator/interpreter backends that can compile into native code the applications after a first run, so that the later runs applications do not take as much time the as the initial run(JIT)/compile.

Gaming software and console OSs can be more expensive to engineer than the development costs of the hardware, the gaming engines and their SDKs are very expensive, and need constant updating and maintenance.

Steam OS, when it is released to market, has the potential of spreading the cost of an OS across the entire gaming market, and could create a market for more independent development, with the cost of the full Open gaming OS a non factor in more than just the Steam Boxes. The gaming OS would become just like the other Hardware/software standards that have lead to the modern PCs and other devices.

Now that the console APUs are based on a common ISA, the same ISA that is on most PCs/Laptops, this transfer will not need emulation as much, the ARM based mobile device's sales have given the device makers, and games/gaming engines makers plenty of profits over the past few years to develop for the mobile devices all of the major gaming engines in existence, as well as their SDKs and APIs. This porting/transfer problem for any games going forward is pretty much a non factor.

June 7, 2014 | 07:21 PM - Posted by ThorAxe

The consoles are like midgets arguing over who is the tallest.

June 9, 2014 | 07:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


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