Some Xbox One Features Will Not Be Available At Launch

Microsoft has confirmed that not all the features of the Xbox One will be available to everyone when the consoles launches on November 22, 2013.

The Xbox One is set to release on November 22, 2013 and Microsoft has admitted that the console will not do everything it is meant to do upon release.  The Xbox One has been labeled the "All-in-One Entertainment System" because the console is intended to do much more than just play video games. 

However, with these big plans, Microsoft is well-aware that they are selling a future vision of what the Xbox One will become, and that is a tough sell given the price of the console. 

It's TV on your Xbox One

One of the interesting features that the Xbox One boasts is the ability to run a TV signal into the HDMI-in port of the console, and that will allow quick transitions from gaming to watching TV without having to switch inputs.  The idea has gotten some criticism because not every territory will be able to use this feature on the day of the launch.  Microsoft requires an HDMI input from the cable box and not every owner might have that ability.

"So the basic experience of HDMI-in will be available for anybody that has TV with HDMI-in," said Albert Penello, Microsoft's senior director of Product Management and Planning.  "I actually think it's an under-appreciated feature," said Penello, "Today, if I want to go between my console and my set top box I still have to pick up another remote and control it... TV is going to be an interesting challenge for us, as we really have to go through each region, each provider, each set of I.P. and build a solution that works.”

So, Microsoft will continue to work so that everyone can take advantage of this feature in the future.  However, there has been no real timeline given for the updates so some people might need to wait longer than others. 

Xbox One Kinect Voice Recognition

Another feature that will not work for all the release territories will be the voice recognition software of the Kinect sensor.  This is due to the different languages of the territories as well as the different accents within each territory.  So, Microsoft will also need to work to program the Kinect to recognize different speech patterns so that everyone can take advantage of the function.

“In English we have two totally different models, even just between the U.K. [and the U.S.] and that's not just words because in each of those models you need to have accents, said Penello. 

This is an issue that Microsoft should fix as soon as possible due to the Xbox One's interface that is a difficult to scroll through using the controller.  Being able to tell the Kinect what you want the console to do is much simpler and takes much less time.  So with any hope, Microsoft will release a patch that will support more languages and more accents so that everyone can use their Kinect to its full potential.

In my Xbox One review, I discuss the newly designed Kinect at some length so if you are looking for more information about the Kinect then please click here.

Another complication is that the new Kinect was designed completely different from the original Kinect, so the older programming is of no use to Microsoft.

"It's totally different," said Penello, "The Kinect sensor is completely different from the other one and because you're using far field, we have to start all over with the new sensor and the new models. So we don't get to take any of what we did before. And none of the stuff we've launched on phone helps us either.”

As of right now, there are ten countries that will support the voice recognition software when the Xbox One releases.  The languages that will be supported on the launch date are U.S., Great Britain, Canadian English, French Canadian, French French, German, Australian English, Spain Spanish, Mexico Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.  Which shows off some of the different accents that Microsoft is supporting to complement the various languages.

Microsoft has a significant challenge facing it with the different ambitions for the Xbox One, but it is good to see Microsoft is will to innovate.  The process of making the Xbox One the "All-in-One Entertainment System" will be an evolving goal as different features are made possible for each territory, and Microsoft has a lot to live up to with its next-gen console.

Published Sep. 23rd 2013
View Comments
  • Courtney Gamache
    Featured Contributor
    As someone who doesn't have a TV that can support HDMI I feel a bit left out. Not that I'm way to into the Xbox One, I like the TV features and stuff. But at the same time, I don't really like the Xbox.

    That would be because of the fact you need Xbox Live to play Netflix D: It makes me very sad.

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