What the Xbox One's new developer update means for games, according to Microsoft

This month's update to the Xbox One XDK — the software development kit that game makers use to build their titles — aims to give developers more system resources. That should mean better looking games and, according to Xbox Software Engineering director of development Kareem Choudhry, more flexibility to manage those system resources.

What it doesn't mean, Choudhry explained in a post on Xbox Wire, is an automatic performance upgrade in existing games.

With the June XDK update, Xbox One devs will have "more choice and flexibility to manage the resources of the Xbox One to deliver bigger and richer game experiences," he said.

"Previously, 10 percent of the GPU was reserved for system level processing which included Kinect-related skeletal tracking data," Choudhry wrote. "With this change, titles that are not using skeletal tracking with Kinect can choose to use that portion of the system reserve for other purposes. We have also optimized the entire system so that titles have access to 100 percent of the Xbox One GPU for increased resolution and graphical effects."

Voice commands at the system level, things like "Xbox, on" and "Xbox, record that" won't go away, but developers can disable Kinect's depth and infrared sensors which enable biometric sign-in, skeletal tracking and controller pairing to free up system resources. Kinect's RGB color camera will continue to function, even if its other features have been turned off.

"The full Kinect experience including skeletal tracking is automatically re-enabled when the user switches back to Home (or other applications), even while in the middle of a game," Choudhry said.

Microsoft says it's working with developers to help them take advantage of the GPU performance boost enabled in the XDK update, and notes that games like Destiny and Sunset Overdrive are already taking advantage of it.

More from Polygon

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

  • Diablo 3 - Xbox One vs. PC comparison

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.