Xbox One's Kinect voice commands only available in five countries at launch
The Xbox One may be launching in 13 markets this November, but only five countries will have the Kinect's voice command available at launch. Tucked away at the bottom of the "Get the Facts" page on Xbox.com is a teeny, tiny fine print that reads, "Xbox voice commands will not be available in all markets on the product release date."
Voice Commands will only work in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Germany at launch. This means other launch markets like Australia, Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and New Zealand will not be able to control their Xbox One with their voice.
Voice controls through the Kinect allow users to turn on their console or quickly switch between games, apps, and television without having to use the controller. It's certainly not the end of the world, as the controller provides the same functionality, but it does put a damper on the Xbox One's launch -- especially when such an emphasis has been placed upon the Kinect.
What makes all of this even more frustrating is the fact that Microsoft is forcing the Kinect upon consumers by bundling it with the Xbox One. When first revealed, Microsoft had led consumers to believe the Kinect would be mandatory for the system to operate; even if it wasn't turned on, it would have to be plugged in. This is no longer the case, thanks to a series of policy reversals, but the Kinect is still being bundled with the Xbox One and Microsoft has no plans to sell the system without one already included.
Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One's launch had been delayed to 2014 in eight other markets -- Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland -- that were originally pegged as day one release areas. According to Microsoft's head of product development, Albert Penello, the delay was due to Kinect voice-control localization and not supply issues. What's odd is that Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand are all largely monolingual nations that speak English primarily.
The Xbox One is still due out in November, though Microsoft has yet to confirm an official release date. It retails for $500 and includes the Kinect peripheral which Microsoft has used as a major selling point for the system.