Kinect unable to recognize non-UK European voices - Report

Microsoft's motion-sensing system's voice-command features will be limited to American English, British English, Mexican Spanish, and Japanese when it launches Nov. 4.

On November 4 in North America, Microsoft will launch Kinect with as much fanfare--and marketing muscle--as a new console launch. However, when the camera-based, controller-free motion-sensing system launches in Europe, Kinect won't have quite as much to hype.

European gamers outside of the UK won't be able to use Kinect voice commands until early 2011.

Eurogamer is reporting that Microsoft has confirmed that at launch, Kinect will only recognize voice commands in four dialects of three languages: American English, British English, Mexican Spanish, and Japanese. French, German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Italian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, and other European languages will not be supported. According to the report, support for various languages will be phased in next spring.

As for why Kinect supports Mexican Spanish but not the language's Iberian or South American dialects, Microsoft told the game site that there are 106 million Spanish speakers in the US, 13 million of whom it identified as "Mexicans with consoles." On top of that, Microsoft will reportedly lock out the voice commands by region, preventing anyone capable of speaking with an American, British, or Mexican-Spanish accent--or speaking Japanese--from using the voice commands.

During its press briefing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft made much of Kinect's voice commands. As can be seen in the video below, a demonstrator put the device through its paces by saying "Zune" and the Zune video marketplace menu popped up. He also paused and played a film with his voice, saying "Xbox, play" and "Xbox, stop."

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Discussion

342 comments
DKant
DKant

"On top of that, Microsoft will reportedly lock out the voice commands by region, preventing anyone capable of speaking with an American, British, or Mexican-Spanish accent--or speaking Japanese--from using the voice commands." Now that's plain ridiculous.

squidracerX
squidracerX

@colacubeninja - "go out and get some fresh air." ahhhh Im already outside all day and there are mosquitos outside now hahahaha!

Aesahaettr
Aesahaettr

@ blank2k2 hey mate I don't mean to be rude but I come from near Bristol (well nearish) and their not labelled simply as farmers but Yokels, which is worse. Like you rightly mentioned about the drastic dialect changes between different parts of England i'll be amazed if kinect can understand my geordie mate or even some of the scousers I know let alone some of the chav trash that litter Devon and their psuedo-language. If you are eventually able to properly localise your kinect box (ie in that it replies to you etc) i'd love to hear it say "Yer roight bey" (lol poor attempt at writing a devonian accent) or even "Calm down, calm down."

Aesahaettr
Aesahaettr

@ squidracerX My initial post was meant to be highlighting the fact that there were many equally important languages that were ignored in the compatibility of the kinect device but i'll admit it ended up being a diatribe against american english. It was my assumption that these changes in letters were as an FU to the english in order for america to assert their independence as they had no real necessity and it seems I was lucky in my assumptions. I still find it a little insulting that they have allowed both BE and AE yet not french which (when I last looked) was the second largest spoken language in the world. (prob now chinese and english...). I'm a really big fan of etymology so I think i'll have a little perusal myself and see what social effects influenced this change also. Anyhoo thanks for the mature responses I was expecting it to become an unneeded slagging match after some of the other comments i've read. Good luck in your quest for knowledge, the world needs to be educated. :)

colacubeninja
colacubeninja

@squidracerx I can understand differences in language, but I don't quite see what measurements has to do with voice control. But anyway, I think you're spending far too much time on this article, go out and get some fresh air.

squidracerX
squidracerX

@Aesahaettr also, just because it is interesting, i tried to do a little fast research into why some letters were changed? (Mainly dropping "u" and changing "s" to "z"). It obviously happened AFTER the revolution, up until then we had everything the same, BUT accents had already started changing in the US, (from the influx of other nations, and the mixing of British accents), and so from what I have read it might have been done on purpose! Kind of an "FU" to Britain. We didn't need/want to have the same language, and our accent was pronouncing words differently already, so they really did make an "American English". It isn't just an accident, its not one or two words that got messed up, i mean we had school and English text books already. Its all words across the board, so whatever the reason it was on purpose. We spell Brazil, do you spell it Brasil? Curious! UK: realise, theorise, socialise, analyse, US: realize, theorize, socialize, analyze

squidracerX
squidracerX

@Aesahaettr you had a very polite response :) And yeah no I have no idea why the "s" was changed to a "z". But if I had to guess why - it would again be in the history of the US. It is important to note that when America was being formed as a nation, there were many British colonists here, but there was almost an equal amount of Germans here. They actually had a serious vote (that barely favored English) about which language should be adopted by our government; we almost ended up a German speaking nation! Its important to note that our nation is a melting pot with many languages spoken, IN FACT we do NOT HAVE a national language! In the UK you speak English, that is 100% officially your language. But in the US, the government favors English, but it is not Americas official language, (and so all of our documents and tests are given in many many many languages), so our language has been affected and changed by the influx of other cultures upon it. So for all I know it was German influence or something like that changed it? I agree i don't like that "Dunkin' Donuts" spells its name that way, and maybe doughnuts will change to donuts in the future? Hope not. But Im sure there have been weird changes in UK grammar as well; heck i for one think we need to get rid of the "ph" in phone, its an outdated holdover structure for sure!

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

@thumbsdown01x Sorry, haven't been on a few days.... I dont really sound Bristish or Ultra British ;) I'm from Bristol were labelled as Farmers, my accent cant really be compared to any of typical "British" characters in movies etc. If your still interested, youtube for "Bristolian" you'll find Terry's videos...He's very Bristolian. and yeah, travel 50 miles in any direction and you'll find a pretty drastic accent change in the UK + many many more "scattered" on the outskirts of major citys etc. This is why i'll be truly stunned if Kinect can understand us all, certainly the "English (UK)" option on most out of the box voice recognition software is never capable.

squidracerX
squidracerX

@colacubeninja "Uk no longer uses imperial" ummmmmm yup, they switched in 1824, I said that... read more? I mean that was why I pointed out that system is called the "English" system, then the UK brats act high and mighty that they use metric and we still talk in miles and feet, but they were the ones who brought it to us and had made it popular worldwide, it was their baby - and then they switched, and we had already beaten them off with a big stick by that point so their switch had no affect on us.... "...But Britain did not switch until 1824, we were already independent by then...."

squidracerX
squidracerX

@hannify for a guy arguing about the English language you do not write it very well in sentence form... Are you bringing up the fact that most of the world uses the metric system and that we use the English measurement (Imperial) system? If so - I think if you read that nickname again you will see that is not American's fault, its what was used when establishing our country. Many other places used that system until not too long ago, and have now converted; we have not. But Britain did not switch until 1824, we were already independent by then. We do not keep the English system because we are arrogant, it is because we were the #1 industrial power in the entire world for quite a while, and it would be very costly to convert everything over. Our science classes teach in metric now, and most of our products are made out of country now in metric countries; so just give it a decade or two we will convert over as well... But yeah if Brits hate American English so much, why do most British bands sound like they are from New York City when they sing? Get over it and stop being language snobs. And yes I can compare the evolution of American English to that of the Brits, in less than a thousand years the British English has transformed so drastically that most of you could not go read an Old English text and understand it fully, where as in 250 years all the Americans have done is dropped a few letters. We are separated by an ocean, of course slang and spelling will change.

Aesahaettr
Aesahaettr

@ squidracerX - I appreciate the history lesson though "trying to sound smart" completely misses the intention of my post. You are completely fair and accurate in what you wrote about language evolving and many a word used nowadays is a corruption of an earlier version through dialects etc. But in all honesty can you really justify what you wrote as supporting evidence towards the value in changing the spelling of bastardising to bastardizing and the like as an 'evolution' of the English language. Personally I think not. Though, like you aptly stated; "It's just life."

Aesahaettr
Aesahaettr

@ mtodavk Asshat. Brilliant stuff. Like what you did there... Thanks for the pedantic reminder I was interested to find that 'spelt' and 'spelled' are both correct as I thought the latter was misused. Turns out that although you are right that spelt is a type of wheat it is also the accepted spelling in europe. In ahem 'american English' the use of spelled is preferred. So, thanks again. Your ignorance has been beneficial after all.

deltaalphagamma
deltaalphagamma

this sounds very bad, if you can speak american english you stilll can't use it because of a region lock, RIDICULOUS

Lionman363
Lionman363

@k2theswiss Yeah, too bad EndWar's voice controls sucked. That's just one thing, no? Roll on Kinect.

xV-DeadGamer-Vx
xV-DeadGamer-Vx

British English? Is that even the correct term. @thumbsdown01x Sorry but if you're American, then you speak with an American Accent, its not your choice lol. Its just what you do. You can't help it unless you throw your voice.

Balck_soul
Balck_soul

doesn't sound to bad , as long as they updated it i am happy.

sirbargearse
sirbargearse

This won't be good for launch. Kinda reminds me of when the Google App on the iPhone (I now have since moved to a Samsung Galaxy S) had an update to recognise the Aussie accent. After that point onwards the voice recognition worked a charm. But back to the Kinecto thingy. Facial recognition and voice recognition are the two big selling points of this really cool gadget. I hope MS get the voice support out there pronto to avoid lost sales! PS: If you wear a burqua... will it still recognise you? LOL

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

take those illigal mexicans out of US and u have 12 million less fools to worry

mosamania
mosamania

i just saw the vid.... i wonder what happens when i say "xbox go screw yourself" -----> (red rings of death)

stziggy
stziggy

Does this mean that if you're from Glasgow, Scotland or West Virginia, you're out of luck?

thumbsdown01x
thumbsdown01x

@isshiah I'm American, but I'm not tied down to these "accents" and rules. I speak the way I choose to speak. I don't care about how anyone talks. I have my own accent.

thumbsdown01x
thumbsdown01x

@Blank2k2 What kind of British do you speak? Do you sound British, or do you sound super-duper ultra British?

akiwak
akiwak

@ inaka_rob Get the sand out of your Vajayjay. M$ doesn't care that you are here defending it's non-existent honor. I see that by pointing out the obvious it got your panties in a bunch and I apologize for doing so then. Label me what you want if it helps you sleep better at night, me I could care less. I've probably been gaming longer than you've been alive and have been gaming on every system that has come out. Since I am a gamer I must admit I love the level of competition that is currently available and can appreciate what each has to offer to the gaming community. In reference to what you said about SciFi movies, yes you are right, they are not holding, round silly looking orbs; BUT THEY ARE ALSO NOT POINTING WITH A FINGER and making noise with their mouths pew, Pew, PEW! Since this is reality also and not SciFi, is it not ok to appreciate what can truly enhance my CURRENT gaming experience. Is it not OK to gripe about not being able to play with friends I've made around the world that may not be able to share in the experience? My name is David and as far as superior gaming systems go, my preference is neutral. Ask me again and I'll say neither or All!!!

isshiah
isshiah

so i won't even be able to fake an american accent? haha people never understand my aussie accent anyway.

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

@destintyDemon Really? This may come as a shock, but about 80% of the world's population are not native English-speakers. Although, looking at your comment I'm not entirely convinced that you have much grasp of the language yourself.

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

@DarkRein2552 That's a good point, didn't think of it that way. I just hope its as good as advertised, been a couple of dents put in it recently with the camera res drop & motion points being cut in half etc. I'll be getting it either-way, infact the past few months i've been revamping my home cinema setup in preparation for it.... So i'll be rather pissed if it flops ;)

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

@SAF64WII Did you really just use the word gay to describe something as being cr*p? Grow up you retard

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

@Blank: Lionhead is a very big developer behind this device and they're very proud of their British nationality as is apparent in the Fable games. I have no doubt British-English was a top priority for Kinect functionality. Probably more so than Spanish and Japanese (especially considering there's more support for 360 in the UK than in Japan. More consoles owned means more Kinects they stand a chance at moving.)

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

"Microsoft will reportedly lock out the voice commands by region, preventing anyone capable of speaking with an American, British, or Mexican-Spanish accent--or speaking Japanese--from using the voice commands." What the hell does this even mean? That, for example in Japan only Japanese speakers can use it? What about people who may live in Japan but only speak English? And what about Americans living in the UK (and vice-versa) - does it mean they won't be able to use it either unless they can fake the accent? Does this make sense to anyone else?

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

Personally i'll be shocked if it can understand us Brit's, I'm yet to find any out-of-the-box voice recognition software that can understand my accent. I mean damn, in England, travel 50 miles in any direction and you'll enter a region with a substantially different accent to the last.

Dan21278
Dan21278

What if you can fake a mean British accent? lol

badron11
badron11

This title was really misleading as you said @Wam11

Wam11
Wam11

ha i was like what?! i thought it ment if i didnt have a british accent it wouldn know what im sayin.. but the language of english is good. the title is gingerly misleading

Nercis
Nercis

Kinect is a billionflop. Thats why they gonna raise the Xbox Live costs..

gnbfd
gnbfd

Topic title was misleading. I came in thinking that it didn't recognize American voices. Shame on you Gamespot

yuri19
yuri19

what do they mean by British english?? The Uk has different accents wherever you go, i have severe doubts that thick scouse or Scottish accents will be understood. Hell what about west country accents? or welsh? gah this is gonna be a failure.

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

@Master_Turismo how is new controller over priced? you go to store and buy new controller now what is it going cost 49.98 or w/e and go buy a play and charge kit what is that going cost 19..99 soo what is that a 5 dollar savings. but i do disagree the way they selling it though only in a play an charge kit. it not like the skin isn't black or white which they already have play an charge kits that color

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

@Lionman363 voice control is great but not for video games? wow look at xbox live and you play a team base game what do you tell your team mates? "the guy behind the airplane" now what if a game dev comes along and in the campaign gives you voice control over your squad. tell your team move out or hold will free up buttons having the power to tell your AI team flank that airplane, thats just one thing so don't try give anyone your crap

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

anyone complaing or bashing needs to understand everyone in each part of the world sound different and every 5 year old knows this... if you want voice controls right you need to build it for each type of person not add one type of ascent and say hell ya it's going work great for that noob around the world who you can't understand half the time. microsoft looked at the stats and looked at the time frame they had and they broke down the most people first then to the next and down the list....they are not ditching it saying only these people can use voice control 4 life but others can't it ber in springs update big deal...

Master_Turismo
Master_Turismo

This isn't exactly a good week is it? First it was the raised prices on Xbox Live subscriptions then it was a ridiculous high priced controller that only improved the D-pad and ruined the color system and now this :C . Come on Microsoft. Us Console guys know you can do better than that D: .

MarcJL31
MarcJL31

What is the point of locking it out by region. I mean its one thing to only support a few languages but then saying "Oh you can speak a supported language? Well you still can't use it." is a bad move. Poor decision on Microsoft's part.

makhlouta
makhlouta

did people nto read that other languages will be available in spring or smthg? the complaint is bout the region thing nto the language! it's like any other DLC that is avaialble after a couple month a game is released! the region thing is pretty dumb tho... i do think that kinect is not for all audiences and that it might not appeal to everyone but out of all the motion sensing systems it's gotta be the best! PS move? really? peh

MXVIII
MXVIII

dalecar ...as a language that is NOT supported.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

take it that means they're ignoring most accents then >.> fail

MacenKrace
MacenKrace

Talk of a way to get customers Micros**t.

bodamer
bodamer

Is this really that big of news? It is common business practice to target your largest audience/consumer group when you put out a new product.

dalecar
dalecar

@SuperMegaMaster Read properly, Portuguese is listed !