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Xbox One to be deaf at launch in 8 countries

2 min read

Even though we have learned that you don’t absolutely need the Kinect for the Xbox One to function, we keep hearing about how it makes the experience so much better. The main reason? Voice commands! Well, now it turns out that only a handful of countries will have that functionality at launch.

According to the fine print on the official Xbox One product 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.

Microsoft already reduced the number of launch countries to 13, but now only five will be able to say “Xbox On” or “Skype my mistress”. So, if you live in the US, UK, Canada, France or Germany, you can talk to the Kinect while it watches you. Otherwise, if you are based in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain or New Zealand, it will just watch you. 
I’m not sure I understand why this might be. It can’t be a language issue – Australia and Ireland speak English – the differences between American and British accents are far greater than the differences between English and Australian. At least, they sound that way to my Yankee ear. It seems particularly strange considering that the Xbox 360’s speech recognition is currently supported in all the excluded countries except Austria.
Of course, as it currently is with the Xbox 360. this means that when the console comes to SA, you will just have to pretend to be in the UK to speak to your Xbox One. 
I don’t think most people were planning on purchasing an Xbox One because of the voice commands, but it’s just a bit strange that this hyped aspect won’t actually work at launch in most countries. 

Last Updated: August 30, 2013

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