Microsoft's Alberto Penello says localization issues, and not supply problems, are behind the delay of the Xbox One launch in several territories.
The Xbox One was originally slated for launch in 21 countries, a surprisingly small number for what will presumably be the biggest console in Microsoft's history. Yet earlier this month, that number was pared down even further, to just 13 countries, leaving out Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland - small markets individually but collectively significant. Microsoft said at the time that there were many factors behind the delay, but Penello, the head of product development, insists that a supply shortage isn't among them.
Penello said there's a widely-held assumption that Kinect on the Xbox One is essentially the same as on the Xbox 360, when in fact it's "so much more elegant and so much more integrated, and in many ways it's a lot faster and more convenient." But because of that, the system requires more localization in order to work effectively, which is the key reason for the delay.
"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," he told OXM.
"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 localization," he continued. "And once people see the system and how integral it is, it's not just text integration."
While the Xbox One launch has been delayed in several countries, Penello noted that it's not actually region locked, so people can snag one from a non-delayed nation as long as they're comfortable with its native language. "In regions like Switzerland where people speak German and French, they can get a German or French console," he explained. "It'll work fine."