When Microsoft announced that the Xbox One had been delayed in eight international territories, many assumed it was to beef up allocations in North America and certain countries in Europe. In other words, Microsoft wanted to make sure that they could satisfy as many pre-orders in those territories as possible.
As it turns out, however, that was not the case. In fact, Microsoft’s decision to delay the Xbox One into 2014 for Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland had nothing to do with volume and everything to do with localizing Kinect.
As Microsoft Senior Director of Product Management and Planning Albert Penello explains, the localization of the Xbox One‘s Kinect is more complicated than it was with Kinect 1.0. This isn’t simply taking tech and software and copy/pasting it onto a new platform.
The new Kinect, Kinect 2.0 if you will, has more advanced voice and text integration than what was previously offered by Kinect 1.0. Sure, the Xbox 360 could recognize simple phrases like, “Xbox, Stop,” but the Xbox One wants to take those voice commands to a new level, as evidenced by their TV and media initiatives.
“I think people are using the way [voice] works on Xbox 360, which was an accessory we built five years after release, as how it’s going to work here. But it’s so much more elegant and so much more integrated, and in many ways it’s a lot faster and more convenient, whereas on Xbox 360 it’s a lesser version of doing the thing you’re used to doing on your controller.”
Although Penello doesn’t outright say it, our guess is that Microsoft started Kinect localization for key markets and then worked their way down from there. And as a result, those 8 countries we listed got the short end of the stick and will not see an Xbox One release this November.
So, while the console is still delayed, we now know the real culprit. At the same time, a presumed console shortage likely went over better with gamers than time constraints involving Kinect localization.
Although Microsoft has made the Kinect an integral part of the Xbox One bundle, many gamers out there are less-than-enthused about the motion controller. At one point the Kinect was even so integral to the Xbox One console that the device would not function without it. Microsoft has since changed their mind in regards to this policy, though, but they are still shipping every console with Kinect.
We still don’t know when exactly the Xbox One might ship this year, so it’s hard to predict when in 2014 international gamers might finally get their hands on the console. A recent rumor suggested the console’s release date is November 8th, but there has been no confirmation from Microsoft.
How do you feel about Microsoft delaying the Xbox One in 8 international territories for Kinect localization? How do you feel about Kinect coming with every Xbox One bundle?
The Xbox One will be out this November in North America and select European countries.