To USB or Not to USB


New Game Consoles PS4 and XBox Kinect 2 to have USB 3.0

Microsoft Durango Kinect

February 20, Microsoft leaked info on on the next generation Kinect Sensor for the next generation XBox.  This is the 3rd generation XBox which could be called the XBox 3, but appears to be called the Durango.

So the Durango XBox Kinect 2 has USB 3.0, so we can guess that the Durango will have at least 1 USB 3.0 port.   You can read about the XBox 3 / Durango Kinect at VGLeaks.

Comparison of Kinect 1.0 and 2.0

What’s interesting is that this gesture senssing video camera sensor collects more data (1920 x 1080 up from 640 x 480), and in fact multiple streams of data (image plus IR).  All the data needs to be moved fast from the camera to the XBox to reduce latency and improve the user experience.

By moving more data, through a faster pipe, the images captured by the camera do not need to be compressed, sent through a slower USB 2.0 connection, and then de-compressed on the other side.  Raw uncompressed data can be sent through a fast USB 3.0 pipe to the XBox CPU for immediate processing.  No delays.  This means if the game player is swinging a virtual sword or turning a virtual steering wheel, the image/game can respond more quickly like a real sword or car would respond.  No delay.  So a faster USB 3.0 path means faster responsiveness.

The funny thing is that the camera in the existing Kinect is probably about as powerful as the cameras in the latest Samsung and Apple phones.  TI talked about and demonstrated how you could use a camera on your mobile phone to use gesture control with your mobile phone.

Here’s a link to an older article when Microsoft demonstrated improvements to the original Kinect.

PS4 also has USB 3.0

Ostensibly, Microsoft leaked some tantalizing information about the Durango Kinect in order to head off the Sony  TWO HOUR press conference on the PS4.  In it we learn most importantly that it wll have  USB 3.0.

Oh yeah, and an AMD 8-core x86 processor, and some sort of IR sensor bard (like on the Wii / Wii U) and an whole lot of network access featuers for multi player gaming.  Most interesting to some, is that older games from PS3’s will NOT run on the Sony PS4 hardware.  Instead, you will stream play the games.  In other words, Sony will run the PS3 games on their servers, and you will use a superfast internet connection to play the game.   This seems counter-intuitive to me because it probably introduces a lot of internet latency in controlling your character and waiting for a server to react at a location 100s or 1000s of miles from your PS4.   In otherwords, if I swerve my car in-game to miss a person waling across the street, will the server detect my turn in time?

Or will it be like the pilot of an drone airplain that has to account for a long delay between their action, and the reaction elsewhere.

Ramble over.

Read the USB 3.0 specs here below.

We can only hope that both the Microsoft Durango and the PS4 and their USB 3.0 ports are demonstrated at E3, the big gaming event, in just a few months.


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Nothing funny has happened. No one has told me a funny story.

Oh I know.  We have some really awesome USB PHYs.  They are hard to make, make well, and make to work with each first pass silicon.  Take a look here

That wasn’t funny. That was a shameless plug on our PHYs so please go take a look at our USB Solutions page that includes info on our USB 2.0 PHY and USB 3.0 PHY and our PHY Guy Gervais Fong (not a bad guy I will admit) will stop bugging me about being so digital.

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