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Kinect voice control to be late in eight countries at launch

Microsoft's next-gen console is arriving in 12 countries this November, but only the US, UK, Canada, France, and Germany will have access to the bundled Kinect's much-hyped voice control feature.


Microsoft was already forced to roll back its November launch markets from 21 countries to 12. Now, the company has quietly restricted Kinect's highly promoted voice control feature to only five of those markets.

"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," reads the final line, buried at the very bottom of the page, of Microsoft's new Xbox One promotional page.

That means that Austria, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain will not be getting the feature at launch.

Microsoft originally pushed back the Xbox One launch in eight European markets due to localizing the Xbox One dashboard, as well as incorporating more local content and additional voice and language support. It's unclear whether those issues are directly Kinect-related and thus playing a part in the delay of its voice control feature.

We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update the story if we hear back.

This announcement comes on the heels of a CVG interview with executive Phil Harrison, Microsoft's corporate vice president, claiming that his company has no current plans to ever sell the Xbox One unbundled from its motion controller, a point of contention given that it's naturally a factor in the console's $499 price.

"I have an Xbox One at home, and being able to walk in and say 'Xbox on,' and for the system to recognize me, launch and load my profile, and put my choices of content on the font page is a very magical experience," he said.

Looks like only those lucky enough to get their console in North America, France, or Germany will be able to enjoy the magic.

Updated on Friday, August 30 at 9:14 a.m. PT: Microsoft's director of marketing Albert Penello posted on NeoGaf yesterday night to confirm that the Xbox One will in fact launch in 13 markets, though it was not made clear why there was an initial discrepancy between the confirmed launch market count.

He went on to clarify that Kinect voice controls will be at least partially available in 10 of those 13 markets, with the five markets mentioned above -- the US, UK, Canada, and Germany -- being the only ones to receive the "Xbox on" voice functionality at launch. Penello also noted that language support for the Xbox One at launch will include English (US), English (UK & worldwide), Spanish (MX), Spanish (ES), Italian, German, and Portuguese.

[Via Polygon]