Xbox head Phil Spencer made an appearance on Major Nelson’s podcast Sunday evening on the eve of E3 2014 where he confirmed that upcoming games like “Destiny” and “Sunset Overdrive” will make use of the upcoming Xbox One dev kit update that makes more of the console’s GPU power available. He also clarified exactly what the upcoming dev kit does and doesn't mean for gamers.
The Xbox One dev kit update that is being made available to developers in June will free up 10 percent of the console’s GPU that was reserved for use with the Kinect. Spencer was the one to make the original announcement and confirmed that “Sunset Overdrive” will take advantage of the update.
“They are going to use the increased capabilities that lowering the reserve will have to actually make a more vibrant and more alive gameplay space,” Spencer claimed. “Even our friends at Bungie…they are going to up the resolution of ‘Destiny’ based on this change.”
Both Major Nelson (aka Xbox Director of Programming Larry Hyrb) and Spencer called the freeing up the reserve a normal cycle in console development that was also seen with the Xbox 360. Spencer also reiterated that, despite reports to the contrary, Xbox One owners who unplug their Kinect will NOT suddenly see an increase in power. That’s not the way it works as the freeing up of the power reserved from the GPU for the motion sensor happens on a game by game basis through code.
“Everybody should leave Kinect plugged in,” Spencer explained. “Because as soon as the game isn’t running anymore, you quit the game, you go back to the dash, you are going to have all the great functionality that you ever had.”
As mentioned before, the freeing up of resources and general tool improvements with the Xbox One dev kit will have no effect on current Xbox One games. It’s not even known if developers will be able to go back and tweak the game with a patch to run at a higher or more stable framerate. That does nothing for resolution though which would require a rework of all of a game’s assets.
Edit: Corrected a typo in the sentence "Spencer also reiterated that, despite reports to the contrary, Xbox One owners who unplug their Kinect will not suddenly see an increase in power."