The Xbox One was recently delayed in eight countries, reducing the number of release territories down to only thirteen. Today we found out the reasoning behind the Xbox One delay; voice localization.
Microsoft’s head of product development Albert Penello spoke with OXM at Gamescom, where he explained the importance of voice control:
“I think people are using the way [voice] works on Xbox 360, which was an accessory we built five years after release, as how it’s going to work here.”
“But it’s so much more elegant and so much more integrated, and in many ways it’s a lot faster and more convenient. Whereas on Xbox 360 it’s a lesser version of doing the thing you’re used to doing on your controller. This is the part of the internet that’s frustrating, because everybody wants to assume there’s a [units volume] issue. And yet I’m showing real hardware here at Gamescom – a real, final, retail kit. Which I have yet to see my friends show me.
“People assume there’s a volume issue which in fact there isn’t. You’re actually seeing pre-orders pop back up now because we’re able allocate the countries’ volumes back in. It’s there, the problem is localisation. And once people see the system and how integral it is, it’s not just text integration.”
“But at the same time we said, this is a region-free console. In regions like Switzerland where people speak German and French, they can get a German or French console. It’ll work fine. They can log in to their marketplace, use their language, we don’t geo-fence Live or any of the content any more. We don’t have official language support – but the console still works.”
I really don’t think that lack of voice control in those countries is worth delaying the system, at the end of the day it is a console for playing games on and Kinect voice activation should be very far down on their list of priorities. Saying that people could just import that console from another country is frankly insulting. There’s no excuse to not have languages such as Dutch, Russian, Swedish or Norwegian programmed into the system, they have had years to develop this. I truly believe that Microsoft are going to miss out on a lot of sales because of this oversight.
Please tell me in the comments below what you think about this, even if you’re fortunate to live in an English speaking country ‘fortunate’ enough to be able to use the Kinect voice controls.