Stop unplugging your Kinects - it doesn't improve performance

Microsoft’s move to offer better Xbox One performance by opening up reserved memory for the Kinect, seems to have caused some confusion among users. Despite a reported 10% performance increase without the Kinect, users who unplug their peripheral don’t see any improvements.

The confusion arose recently, with Microsoft’s latest software update that frees up memory and resources previously reserved for Kinect. What this means is that developers can now use those resources in any way they see fit, including a graphics boost, higher frame rate, better models or simply shorter loading times in some cases.

However, this doesn’t mean that unplugging your Kinect, which many folks seem to be doing, will actually benefit you in any way. The changes made by Microsoft are destined for developers, who need to implement them in their games. And even then, your Kinect will still be used for voice commands and other features, but the resources reserved for body tracking and graphics processing will be freed up. So simply unplugging the peripheral does absolutely nothing besides show you an annoying notification.

We already know of some games that will take advantage of this change in policy, such as Destiny and Sunset Overdrive. But until these, and others like them, hit markets your Kinect won’t affect any performance one way or the other.

Image via Microsoft

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again bad decisions, instead of someone from MS saying Kinect utilizes 7% of CPU cycles, they should have fixed the damn issue with a software update not promoting the fact that Kinect decreases the performance which really it isn't. and this Be recognized ad is more on the creepy side. it is not helping either

what a mess, at least microsoft realize it and fix it fast for 100 cheaper the xbox one its a competitive option, but so far next gen its not needed and its still expensive.

waiting for the imminent price drop for both console

Granted the people I know with Xbox Ones probably aren't the most representative sampling of the community but most of them unplug the Kinect and did so BEFORE the 10% boost was even announced (some never even unpacked the thing... and are none too happy you can get it now without one for $100 cheaper.) Most of them unplug is because they don't feel comfortable with an active mic "always on" in their living room. As yakumo pointed out saving power is another reason. The recent stories about it responding to TV commercials also hasn't helped. There are plenty of reasons to unplug your Kinect when you aren't using it that having nothing at all to do with improving performance or not. There are less reasons than before to ever bother plugging it in since it's no longer standard anyway and now a lot of devs are going to remove motion support to get that 10% back. If all you're using it for is a mic they need to just support voice command over the headset and that "annoying notification" needs to go away if they are selling systems without the Kinect in the first place.

You know, I never got this. "I'm uncomfortable with Kinect being in my living room, but I'm totally fine with an active mic on and hackable camera on my cell phone anywhere I go!"

Asmodai said,
.... If all you're using it for is a mic they need to just support voice command over the headset ....

Kinect filters out the audio generated by the console or passthru device.

You will never get good commanding with a headset.

Another thing I can't replicate. I've tried blasting my TV volume when those commercials play and my Kinect didn't even register.

Perhaps people just didn't bother calibrating theirs properly in the first place?

I honestly don't think people are removing the Kinect to "improve" performance.
I think people are unplugging it there uncomfortable with it on / running, don't want to use it.

Free up resources never entered my mind as a reason to unplug the kinect.

My concern is that a brand new system needs to be modified so that the games can run with enough resources.

Why does it not have enough resources with out this?

How exactly is removing a constraint a bad thing? You're pretending games don't run on the Xbox and Microsoft has to step in when in actuality they're giving devs what they want to make their games run even better.

Vlad Dudau said,
You're pretending games don't run on the Xbox and Microsoft has to step in when in actuality they're giving devs what they want to make their games run even better.
Actually, Microsoft has been forced to respond because the XB1 was significantly more expensive than the PS4 and was being significantly outperformed by it. The Kinect was jettisoned to close the gap, which undermines the very reason it was included in the first place. Now Microsoft is left with a console that is the same price but less powerful and without the Kinect to distinguish it.

Removing the constraint isn't the issue, it's that it was ever there to begin with and that the Kinect was mandatory. That caused Microsoft to skimp on the specs, which is why the PS4 has a more powerful CPU, GPU and memory (not that the PS4 is a powerhouse).

I have yet to see any real world scenario where what you're saying is true. On paper the PS4 is slightly faster but in real life there's no evidence of this. And both consoles, which btw have almost the exact same APU, are dwarfed when it comes even to medium specced gaming PCs.

for the record the PS3 was more powerful than the 360 :) yet the difference now is so small it doesn't ultimately matter. comes down to games. same with ps4 vs xb1

Vlad Dudau said,
I have yet to see any real world scenario where what you're saying is true. On paper the PS4 is slightly faster but in real life there's no evidence of this. And both consoles, which btw have almost the exact same APU, are dwarfed when it comes even to medium specced gaming PCs.

There is a long list of games that run at either higher resolution and/or higher frames per second on PS4 compared to Xbox One! So there is a lot of real life evidence PS4 is more powerful in a meaningful way!

He means a difference that you don't need digital foundry to show you or have em both playing side by side and examine them. Without some website telling you that its fps or res is lower I would throw out a guess that 99% of us would not have had a clue they were different.

Vlad Dudau said,
I have yet to see any real world scenario where what you're saying is true.
You should visit the forums, as there is ample evidence to support it. There are games running at half the resolution or half the framerate on the XB1 versus the PS4 and the XB1 has dramatically more titles that can't hit 1080p.

Houtei said,
He means a difference that you don't need digital foundry to show you or have em both playing side by side and examine them.
If you can't tell the difference between games running at 1080p on the PS4 and 720p on the XB1 then it's not even worth bothering with the next-gen consoles. Further, it's not just about resolution. Take Watch_Dogs, for instance - the XB1 has more noticeable texture pop-in and more slowdowns. Even if people can't notice the difference in resolution they'll notice the performance drops.

The reality is that most people rely on websites to do performance breaks downs, as they're not going to buy both consoles, get the same games and setup two identical displays side-by-side just to be able to compare them - they look for reviews to determine which is the better product. At the moment the XB1 is significantly behind when it comes to performance.

Houtei said,
He means a difference that you don't need digital foundry to show you or have em both playing side by side and examine them. Without some website telling you that its fps or res is lower I would throw out a guess that 99% of us would not have had a clue they were different.

Really, you can't tell the difference between 1080p and 720p or 60fps compared to 30fps? Come on now

I think ALL of you are foolish to play games on a console over a PC to begin with. The only reason I have the Xbox One is for the media centralization and, eventually, home automation. I don't waste my time playing games on substandard devices.

Robert Wade said,
I think ALL of you are foolish to play games on a console over a PC to begin with. The only reason I have the Xbox One is for the media centralization and, eventually, home automation. I don't waste my time playing games on substandard devices.

What makes you think owning a console means one doesn't also play games on a PC? I love gaming, handheld, console, PC.... all of it. Last I checked Uncharted, Last of Us, Zelda, Metroid *insert endless procession* could not be experienced if you limited yourself to only a PC