Xbox One Voice Commands Limited to Five Countries At Launch

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Xbox One Voice Commands Limited to Five Countries At Launch

Xbox One Kinect

The Xbox One voice controls that Microsoft has so enthusiastically touted as a core feature of the system will only work in five countries when it launches.

Remember how cool it was when Microsoft demonstrated how the Xbox One can be turned on by simply saying, "Xbox on?" And while Microsoft has since stepped back a bit from the lofty aspirations it carried into E3, there's no question that voice controls feature largely in its plans for the future of the console. In fact, the Xbox One "Get the Facts" page specifically states that "advanced voice and motion control open up new game experiences like never before," and that it can be turned on, off and controlled in various ways using voice commands.

But as the sharp eyes at VentureBeat noticed, the promise of an ultra-convenient voice-controlled future carries with it a pretty big caveat: It will only work in five countries at launch. From the fine print at the bottom of the page: "Xbox voice commands will not be available in all markets on the product release date. Voice commands will be available at launch in US, UK, CA, FR, and DE."

That's the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany, for those unfamiliar with the abbreviations, adding up to just three different languages and suggesting that perhaps the localization issues that cut the number of countries in which the console would initially launch from 21 to just 13 are rather more troublesome than anyone thought. At the same time, it's strange that Microsoft doesn't include English-speaking nations Australia, Ireland and New Zealand in the list, or Austria, in which the official language is German. Trouble with accents, perhaps?

Whatever the reason, it raises some serious doubts about just how effective the Xbox One voice command system will be, and it really doesn't look good on Microsoft, which at this point appears to be trapped in a flat spin of climbdowns and PR disasters. The way things are going, by November we'll be writing news posts about how the Xbox One will shoot your dog and set your house on fire if you look at it wrong.

Source: Xbox.com

Permalink

Xbox retornar casa!

...seriously, Microsoft have really dropped the ball here. Until a few weeks ago, the Xbone looked like it required you to use Kinect and those damn voice commands. What the hell happened that they're now not able to support voice commands in the rest of Europe? Does that mean the rest of Europe is going to have to rely on whatever interface Microsoft has bodged together in the interrim?

If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Seriously though, this is pretty bad. I mean, 5 countries? It's the 'future' of video games, but one of the things you're touting, voice control, is only gonna work in 5 countries?

"5 countries" is a bit incorrect considering the UK is made up of 4 on its own (5 if you count ALL of Ireland, which you shouldn't, but I'd imagine it is here), but that's still pretty bad. Voice commands could actually be really cool if they could get them to work. The technology is there (at least in English, as far as I know), so it's not too much of a stretch to hope for.

I wonder how long it will be before the launch of the X1 is actually complete? As in, the console is released everywhere and all its components are fully localized (within reason).

A lot of Australian accents aren't that far removed from English ones, so I'm not sure that's the issue.
That said, I wouldn't be surprised if we in Britain would need to fake an American accent in order to get the damned thing working.

I'm just waiting for MS to come out and tell everyone the Xbone only actually works for whoever led the voice-interface team.

You know, when I read that the DRM was gone, I was a little sad.
After hearing all that MS was doing and how they kept digging themselves deeper, I was expecting the rest of the year to be a slow motion train wreck for the X-Bone, but with with the 180 MS made, I didn't get the sweet payoff at the end.

But at this rate, I'll get my horrible crash after all!

image

Belgians, Austrians, Australians, Kiwis and the Irish officially confirmed for having incomprehensible accents.

This scientific study brought to you by Microsoft Corporation.

I wonder if the XBone can recognize 'redneck' accents? Seriously, even in upstate New York...we have people like that.

All in all, this bit of news just made me giggle a little and helped to remind me how shallow Microsoft's thinking on the XBone is.

You see Microsoft, this shit storm your dealing with. It is what happens when you are caught in a LIE.

jericu:
If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Seriously though, this is pretty bad. I mean, 5 countries? It's the 'future' of video games, but one of the things you're touting, voice control, is only gonna work in 5 countries?

it would also not work in the US, people in Loussiana, Missisipi, Texas, Brooklyn, Utah, etc. surely have diferent accents... I swear it feels like Microsoft does not want us to buy it's new console, anyway, I have enough of this downward spiral news I will be canceling my Xbone pre-order later on today...

Edit: aaah ninja'd by CrazyCapnMorgan about the US accents :P

Andy Chalk:
Whatever the reason, it raises some serious doubts about just how effective the Xbox One voice command system will be, and it really doesn't look good on Microsoft, which at this point appears to be trapped in a flat spin of climbdowns and PR disasters.

Dear Microsoft,
If you can't walk the walk, don't talk the talk.

Half a year later and it sounds like all xbox complaints are back to square 'One.'

Feature required
Feature not required
Launching in 21 countries
Launching in 13 countries
Voice commands limited to 5 countries
Voice commands actually work in ? countries

I would almost be willing to bet a sizable amount of my next payslip that when it actually is launched, much of the UK finds it has to make do without the voice commands due to their accent. I don't imagine the story will be much different in the other four locales.

The accent thing was just a guess - I know regional accents can be awfully thick, but I can't imagine any other reason why english-speaking (and german-speaking) countries would be excluded. I'm certainly open to other ideas.

The Plunk:
Irish officially confirmed for having incomprehensible accents.

Don't let T0ad of Truth catch you saying that, he is too enamored with my Irish accent as it is!

OT: You know, if you are going to tout the voice commands as a key feature, it is probably best not to lock it off for a ton of people. I'm Irish and it looks like my accent is too sexy for the Xbone to handle.

Within the month, Microsoft will announce that while the Xbox One will be launched in the United States, the Kinect's voice recognition will not work in New York, Tennessee, Texas, California, and other TBD states. Technical issues will be cited noting difficulties with limitations in the Win8 OS root in understanding any accent other than General American.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_American

You know, I'd almost be willing to bet the money that Microsoft would have wanted me to put down on an Xbox One that the voice commands are only going to work in very small parts of those five areas. Why? As people have already pointed out: accents.

You have a myriad of accents that exist across Canada, the U.S and the U.K, despite the fact all (or a large majority, in the case of Canada) of those areas are English speaking, you've got two completely different French dialects in Quebec and France, which I'm almost certain Microsoft will not have taken into account, because most people from outside Canada seem to assume Quebecers speak Parisian French (and that's disregarding the different accents that undoubtedly exist in both of those dialects as well), not to mention the fact that Microsoft have not yet demonstrated that the Kinect 2.0 is going to recognize voices any better than the current Kinect, where the voice recognition is about as accurate as throwing a dart with your eyes closed after being spun around a half-dozen times.

That said, Microsoft could actually use this to help themselves a little bit. The console is supposed to be launching in something like thirteen countries, correct? But this tells us that, of those launch regions, only five of them will have access to voice commands. Okay, you're being very restrictive about a promised feature, but you know what? You're proving here that localization can be worked on after the console launches. So you know what you do? Get a version of the Xbox One localized for at least as many areas as the PlayStation 4 is launching in, if not more, with the promise of more features to be added later. As long as the thing functions properly as a gaming console, there will be people who don't mind waiting for the extra stuff. This will give you an increased launch market, and will at least make it look like you're trying, which, right now, I'm honestly not sure of.

Makes a big deal about Kinect and voice commands and charges $100 extra for the privilege.

Voice commands only work in five countries.

It's like they're trying to fuck up as badly as possible.

I find it weird that they can't get the voice commands working on launch in all English speaking markets, no love for the Irish, Aussies and New Zealanders I guess. And no Spanish support at all which seems even more strange, I mean it's not like its one of the most common languages spoken in the world or anything.

jericu:
If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Seriously though, this is pretty bad. I mean, 5 countries? It's the 'future' of video games, but one of the things you're touting, voice control, is only gonna work in 5 countries?

In my experience electronics have a better time understanding my scouse accent than most people do. That said I now want a localised Xbox that I can switch on by saying "A'right Xbox la"

Of course the real test for Xbox One will be Glasgow. If the voice commands work there, they'll work anywhere regardless of what language they speak :P

Having written voice recognition software myself in years gone by, I can attest to the fact that it is very, very hard indeed, especially when you have to factor in other countries' lauguages, and even other dialects in the same language. When Mattrick was spouting the voice command 'features' on stage at launch (and his console was being operated by a guy backstage using a controller - there's no way they'd leave something as dangerous as voice commands live on stage to chance) I immediately thought of the myriad problems that would accompany this.

My guess is that if you have a neutral accent in any of the supported languages, you'll be okay (and by 'neutral' for America, I mean west coast). All you need to screw up voice commands is a different inflection, a heavy accent, or a bit of noise in the background. The voice commands that everybody hates when you dial your bank or whatever are extremely sophisticated in terms of the software, but they're still crap and can't understand most people for most of the time.

It's simply a really, really difficult problem to solve, nobody has properly solved it yet, nobody really wants it (I'd rather just press a button), and MS have used this massive can of worms as one of their USPs of the console. Nice work.

jericu:
If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Seriously though, this is pretty bad. I mean, 5 countries? It's the 'future' of video games, but one of the things you're touting, voice control, is only gonna work in 5 countries?

Man, as a Canadian, if this machine can understand a Newfie accent I will be super impressed. I'm not even convinced that they speak English over there!

CrazyCapnMorgan:
I wonder if the XBone can recognize 'redneck' accents? Seriously, even in upstate New York...we have people like that.

As an individual who lives closer to Canada than to Albany in the North Country, how "upstate" New York do you mean? North of NYC or Real upstate north. Also, someone from New York Yay!

This has been fun to watch Microsoft, at the very least it has been entertaining.

Louzerman102:

CrazyCapnMorgan:
I wonder if the XBone can recognize 'redneck' accents? Seriously, even in upstate New York...we have people like that.

As an individual who lives closer to Canada than to Albany in the North Country, how "upstate" New York do you mean? North of NYC or Real upstate north. Also, someone from New York Yay!

This has been fun to watch Microsoft, at the very least it has been entertaining.

I'm located smack in-between Binghamton, Syracuse and Albany. About an hour and a half from Binghamton and Syracuse and Albany is a good 2 and a half hour drive. (Two hours if you're like me and ignore most traffic laws on double laned highways.)

From your post, if I had to guess I'd reckon you're not far from either Old Forge, Fort Drum or Buffalo.

Like I said for the news about the localization issue: They were working on this thing for two years or so with a goal of launching in 21 countries and didn't bother localizing half of them. Now we learn that they didn't even bother getting the voice commands to work for anyone who doesn't speak English, German, or French? What the hell were they doing, fine-tuning the heartrate sensor to determine if you had cardiac arrhythmia?

kael013:
Like I said for the news about the localization issue: They were working on this thing for two years or so with a goal of launching in 21 countries and didn't bother localizing half of them. Now we learn that they didn't even bother getting the voice commands to work for anyone who doesn't speak English, German, or French? What the hell were they doing, fine-tuning the heartrate sensor to determine if you had cardiac arrhythmia?

They were probably planning on launching later, but Sony forced their hand.

Genocidicles:
They were probably planning on launching later, but Sony forced their hand.

So they decided to release a half-finished product for $100 more than the competition that has their shit together. It sounds like something Microsoft would do.

I'm Irish, live in Ireland. Let's pretend that on launch day, I've never looked at any material beforehand of either console. I go into the shop and look up the touted features of both consoles (and for the record guys, I'm not a fanboy of either console manufacturer, I have a Wii, 360 and PS3 in my room)

Xbone: Approximately one third of the console is dedicated to TV, which needs a set top box. I don't have one, so one third of the price I'm paying for the Xbone is literally being wasted.
Comes with a Kinect 2.0 camera thing, that I won't be able to use. I can't use it for voice commands, nor would I be able to use it in gaming, since I literally do not have the floor space for it (I live in a nice but small apartment, and my gaming consoles are in my bedroom). Even though I speak English quite well, once I boot up the console and set its region to Ireland to try and make use of Xbox Live, it will automatically not even try with voice commands. I'll have to wait for a patch from Microsoft, instead of trying it out and seeing if it works. This Kinect is approximately around a 100 quid, so I'm throwing more money away. (and before someone mentions, yes, I could set up the console to connect to my computer, log in via VPN and set the console's region to British, but that could arguably be called fraud when I attempt to use Xbox Live; I was told that logging in and purchasing on an etailer store like Steam through a VPN can result in account bans).

The only thing that the Xbone has going for it that is in any measure superior to the PS4 is that it reportedly doesn't have HDCP when playing games, meaning you can use an external capture device like an Avermedia or an Happauge to capture and edit your gaming (instead of having to rely on the internal recording capabilities of the console). The PS4 does have HDCP, has only HDMI out, meaning you can't use an external device. That's the ONLY thing the Xbone has going for it, the only good feature it has over its competition.

Adam Jensen:

Genocidicles:
They were probably planning on launching later, but Sony forced their hand.

So they decided to release a half-finished product for $100 more than the competition that has their shit together. It sounds like something Microsoft would do.

This is going to be fun to watch, wheres my popcorn?
Ah there it is, thanks Diablo

image

No wonder it doesn't support Australian English, the xbone would be too busy getting wet and trying to come onto me instead.

Oh look! All that wonderful voice recognition that I was being insulted by Xbone fanboys for being skeptical about won't be available in day 1. "There is no Xbox One without Kinect", Eh?

Come on Microsoft, I'm still waiting for you to come out and prove how wonderful your machine is, but this is getting more and more ridiculous.

If the voice 'features' restricted to 5 countries then why was the release market shrunk from 21 to 13?

They said it was due to the voice unit unable to handle the languages but then they pull this as well.

I smell bullshit and it isn't from the farm next door.

jericu:
If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Seriously though, this is pretty bad. I mean, 5 countries? It's the 'future' of video games, but one of the things you're touting, voice control, is only gonna work in 5 countries?

Accents most likely will be an issue, and they're simple disregarding the unintelligible ones while generalizing everything as English`. Same problem will happen with French when you look at their support for France and Canada. If it`s the same `French` for both, one or the other is not going to work as Quebec french sounds nothing like proper French.

jericu:
If accents were an issue, the thing wouldn't be supported in the UK at launch. Have you heard a Scouser accent? Sheesh.

Howabout the US? We have accents so bad we subtitle them for the benefit of our own people.

Which is ridiculous, because Americans can't read!

>.>

But seriously, what the hell, Microsoft.

Microsoft, I've been a supporter, a symphatiser and I've tried to be a good friend... but do you have to make it so hard? DRM, mandatory Kinect 2.0, always on Kinect 2.0, no/limited pre-owned games, $100 ($50 in Australia) more expensive then the PS4, all in one media device... I heard you and I was intrigued, some people hated the idea and I answered those haters with "get with the future bitches". Then you back track, no forced check in, no limits on pre-owned... and I thought ok it's what the people asked for. Then you removed the mandatory Kinect and I figured its still boxed so everyone has it if developers want to take advantage of it, now though you're saying the big promotional point of voice controls isn't going to be available? And I'm left wondering what's left? I'm in Australia so the special TV features don't work so all I can do is play games? I can do that on my 360...

I tried so hard for you, and you've left me in a difficult situation... I thought you were the One, but I think it's time we took a break and see other consoles, I hope we can still be friends but unless something changes I don't think we'll be more that that again.

TizzytheTormentor:

The Plunk:
Irish officially confirmed for having incomprehensible accents.

Don't let T0ad of Truth catch you saying that, he is too enamored with my Irish accent as it is!

OT: You know, if you are going to tout the voice commands as a key feature, it is probably best not to lock it off for a ton of people. I'm Irish and it looks like my accent is too sexy for the Xbone to handle.

:D I'm telling T0ad!

Anyway, so they've gone from 21 countries, to 13, and now only 5 will have full capability at the start.

:/ How are they going to outsell the competition again? I mean, yeah maybe they can make and ship faster, but if they are so limited to where they can send the full product. I just don't see how that will happen.

Then again, I've only finished my second week of macroeconomics and business so far. So maybe I just haven't learned enough. ;p

I do not believe they will work all that well in other countries either, no matter how much time after the release. Okay, US and other English-speaking countries are a huge market, I know. But, and I'll go out on a limb here, if your console, that's manufactured mainly for purposes other than gaming, has the primary features that exclude most of the world from using it... well that's gonna alienate most of the market will it? For speech recognition: Microsoft, believe it or not, most people DO not speak English. For the other features: what good is smart TV inside your XBox when no provider in your country enables you to use it? I think I can speak about this topic as an insider, I am a Hungarian, living in Romania. Incompatibility issues with major features due to geolocation are annoying and disheartening. And. You. Force. It. On. Us.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here