When Microsoft announced it would give Xbox One developers more GPU power in an upcoming software kit update by freeing up resources dedicated to the console's Kinect sensor, there was some confusion as to the extent of Kinect features that would be lost for games that choose the option. In two recent interviews, Microsoft has clarified that system voice controls will still work in games that opt to use the Kinect reserves.
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox unit, confirmed to Kotaku that all gestures – including system gestures – will be unavailable when developers choose to make their games using the additional horsepower previously reserved for Kinect. System voice commands (such as "Xbox, record that") will still work, however. Additionally, when a gamer suspends the game by going back to the Xbox One home screen, gestures will be available for use in the console interface.
Spencer's comments were expounded upon by Microsoft Studios executive Phil Harrison who told Eurogamer that developers are already using the additional resources to improve frame rates and resolutions of Xbox One games.
"Many developers will use that performance benefit to enhance and improve the graphical look or resolution or frame rate of a game," he said. "We've already seen news that Bungie will increase the graphics performance of 'Destiny.' And as other developers get their hands on the libraries in the next days and weeks, that will become tangible and impactful in games that ship this holiday."
Regardless of whether Xbox One owners have a version of the console with Kinect or the new console version without the sensor, games that make use of Kinect reserves will work the same. Simply unplugging the sensor won't provide any performance improvements, as developers have to program their games for the new option and the games themselves will simply tell the console not to use the sensor.