When the Xbox One’s launch countries were reduced from an announced 21 down to just 13 total, it was quite disappointing for international fans. The speculation for the delay was centered around the notion that the packed-in Kinect required a lot more work in order to properly function with so many different languages and cadence in the spoken word worldwide. Based on a recent report from Game Informer, that theory could prove to be true, as voice commands for the Kinect do not function in Austria, Ireland and New Zealand.
Additionally, only five of thirteen launch countries have access to what Microsoft calls “premium/natural voice” and the “Xbox On” command, available only in the US, UK, Canada, France and Germany. There are no details provided as to when these left-out countries will have these issues addressed.
Think about that for a second; almost 25% of the countries that sell the Xbox One do not have voice commands functioning properly. With the Japanese launch coming in almost 4 months from now, along with 25 other markets shortly to follow, just what level of functionality can users expect their Xbox One to provide at launch?
Tripling the amount of countries that sell the Xbox One will only make getting it that much more difficult for Microsoft to support them all whenever they choose to go on sale in those markets. If a country doesn’t receive voice command support with the Xbox One’s Kinect when it first becomes available, their trust will be hindered. If Microsoft allocates specific countries to make voice commands work and abandons support in others for lengthy periods of time, it may alienate their markets. Microsoft hasn’t proven to use positive PR language when dealing with “Tier 2” countries in the past.
Hopefully Microsoft deals with their Kinect voice issues quickly, and in time for their upcoming Xbox One launches. With roughly 5 million units shipped against the PS4’s 7 million sold to consumers and the Wii U’s 5.86 million (as of December 2013), they need to make up ground in the console market share, and fast.
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