Kinect voice commands not available to Australians

Just hours after Microsoft's Kinect launched in Australia, users are finding one of the device's most hyped features is unavailable Down Under, despite the spoken language being English.

Aussie Kinect owners have begun hitting the official Xbox forums after discovering voice recognition features do not work outside of the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Mexico. Users outside those locales attempting to use voice recognition are met with a message stating: ''Speech recognition is not supported for your LIVE language and locale.''

Voice recognition has been touted as one of the major features of Kinect, and allows users to control movies and the Xbox Dashboard. Misleadingly for would-be Kinect purchasers, Microsoft's Australian Kinect page lists voice recognition as one of the device's features and major selling points.

Forum users have discovered a workaround of sorts - signing out of Xbox Live and changing location to one of the supported locales allows voice recognition to be used, albeit at the cost of all Xbox Live online functions. Forum user ''Knighthoodwink'' claimed to have received confirmation from Xbox Support that the workaround is the only way for non-supported locales to use voice recognition for the time being.

According to New Zealand site TechDay, the reason for the omission is Microsoft's focus on providing native language voice recognition to as many locales as possible. A Microsoft representative told the site that an update adding extra supported locales is expected around March next year.

''Because of the complexity of solving for languages and accents voice support will roll out across the world in waves. In ‘spring’ 2011, Kinect voice support will be available in Canada (French), France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand,'' the representative said.

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29 Comments

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It's not so much that the accent is not recognised. It's that this feature works when offline, then it looks at the console langauge settings, but stops working when online (when it looks at the locale of the xbox live account).

Well bloody hell, I'll be buggered!! That's not fair dinkum at all!!!

hehe I love my country.. nothing new here though, I have to fake an american accent to use voice stuff on my phone or PC (If I could be bothered.. Which is like.. Never haha)

The accent problem seems like a load of rubbish. I live in Australia and the accent across the country is much the same, whereas in my native England the difference in accents in different parts of the country is extreme.

When I moved from the North to work in London, I could hardly understand anything said, and noone could understand me :-)

Mike

cypherboy said,
The accent problem seems like a load of rubbish. I live in Australia and the accent across the country is much the same, whereas in my native England the difference in accents in different parts of the country is extreme.

I find a lot of middle class Aussies tend to sound similar to the general 'home counties' accent found in the UK, particularly in South Australia (but hardly at all in Queensland).

Just as cr@p as windows Phone "we have all these cool features that aren't quite ready yet. Please buy it anyway." I also can't work out the pricing of $200 dollars given the Aus$ is trading at about .98 US these days

For all of the people who complain that their country doesn't support voice recognition, try this.

Go to your windows Vista or newer PC, turn on the voice commands, and turn on the feeback to microsoft.

Next, start using it with your goofy colloquial terms and accents.

All MS speech technologies are built on the TellMe platform. On the PC end, they do collect usage data.

The only way to make it work reliably for 80% of your nation is to give MS data to crunch.
Why do you think the recent shift within MS is like night and day from the way they used to do business.

Fact based decision making. Nothing like a few TB of data from the world to count as fact.

We can't expect changes overnight, but they will come.

blahism said,
there is only a handful of voice commands anyway.. you're not missing much. its still an awesome gaming experience!

Yeah, I have to agree there, why is there no "xbox off" or "xbox power off/down"? Unless I just don't know what the command is...anyone know where a full command list can be found?

Had they delayed the hardware to get the accents correct, the same people on these forums would be complaining about a later release date.

They said this about a month ago that Kinect had trouble with accents, and that an update would come later with support for the rest.

"G'day Bruce"
"G'day Mick mate, thats a nice piece of kit you got yourself there"
"Its that new Kinect Mate, had to set it to english though cos they don't like us Austrailians. Watch this...'Strewth'

"Kinect is loading Shaft"

"Thats dinki-di, get Brad round he'll love this"

"G'day Brad"
"G'day Sport"
Kinect is loading Football

"See works perfectly well".

DKcomputers said,
"G'day Bruce"
"G'day Mick mate, thats a nice piece of kit you got yourself there"
"Its that new Kinect Mate, had to set it to english though cos they don't like us Austrailians. Watch this...'Strewth'

"Kinect is loading Shaft"

"Thats dinki-di, get Brad round he'll love this"

"G'day Brad"
"G'day Sport"
Kinect is loading Football

"See works perfectly well".

Win.

RuuddieBoy said,
Bah sometimes I hate living in a small country like the Netherlands: They never make these products work with Dutch. Not that I mind speaking English (I have a Canadian girlfriend so I speak English all day anyway), but in many cases the English voice recognition doesn't understand Dutch names. So if for example you want to use VR to call someone with your mobile phone, you have to 'Englify' the pronunciation of the Dutch name... Sounds weird and often even that doesn't work.

Lol... your complaining... We have 1 billion people here in India. Most of them out of the billion who can afford these products speak english well. But these companies haven't thought of localizing R&D here in India to push in Indian Voice Recognition into these products. Just like yourself, we may not speak English or American, however, theres a huge potential market that these companies just ignore. Now with the economic crisis and all, the people from Asia seem to have more money to spend. I wonder what holds them back from doing so!

shra1 said,

Lol... your complaining... We have 1 billion people here in India. Most of them out of the billion who can afford these products speak english well. But these companies haven't thought of localizing R&D here in India to push in Indian Voice Recognition into these products. Just like yourself, we may not speak English or American, however, theres a huge potential market that these companies just ignore. Now with the economic crisis and all, the people from Asia seem to have more money to spend. I wonder what holds them back from doing so!

Microsoft actually has a big development center here in India. Considering that, its even more strange.

Bah sometimes I hate living in a small country like the Netherlands: They never make these products work with Dutch. Not that I mind speaking English (I have a Canadian girlfriend so I speak English all day anyway), but in many cases the English voice recognition doesn't understand Dutch names. So if for example you want to use VR to call someone with your mobile phone, you have to 'Englify' the pronunciation of the Dutch name... Sounds weird and often even that doesn't work.

RuuddieBoy said,
Bah sometimes I hate living in a small country like the Netherlands: They never make these products work with Dutch. Not that I mind speaking English (I have a Canadian girlfriend so I speak English all day anyway), but in many cases the English voice recognition doesn't understand Dutch names. So if for example you want to use VR to call someone with your mobile phone, you have to 'Englify' the pronunciation of the Dutch name... Sounds weird and often even that doesn't work.

I thought that was just the voice recognition on a lot of phones being completely useless, It never seems to work for most poeple I know.

It's also quite amusing to hear the text to speech on google navigation try to announce some of the road names.

nice one microsoft make people wait up to 4-6 months for a touted feature to be available... why not just lock the cam from working too... sure people would be happy to wait.

Digitalx said,
nice one microsoft make people wait up to 4-6 months for a touted feature to be available
It was already known that this would be the case.

Was this not stated right at the start? I'm sure I remember reading something on here already about this before it was even released.

Grayski said,
Was this not stated right at the start? I'm sure I remember reading something on here already about this before it was even released.

It was, but the fact is that there's no real reason why an English-speaking locale is locked out of a major feature.

Matthew Jones said,

It was, but the fact is that there's no real reason why an English-speaking locale is locked out of a major feature.

Sure there is. There are like 10 different variations of the "English" language.

shinji257 said,

Sure there is. There are like 10 different variations of the "English" language.

They should just disable by default but have an option to enable. Most Australians have an accent similar to a 'soft' American accent (nothing like a British accent!). Unless they live in a remote area, then the accent can be a bit weird.

Just saw there's a workaround to get English (US) recognition on there.

Matthew Jones said,

It was, but the fact is that there's no real reason why an English-speaking locale is locked out of a major feature.

Speech is such a complex feature to properly detect and analyze, that yes it does make perfect sense. even if we humans can "easily" interpret different variations of english, for a machine, they're practically speaking some alien language (and some would argue they are).

for MS it's better to hold back on a feature and release it fully working, than to release a half working solution that will only get criticized and hated.

Sacha said,

They should just disable by default but have an option to enable. Most Australians have an accent similar to a 'soft' American accent (nothing like a British accent!). Unless they live in a remote area, then the accent can be a bit weird.

well I don't agree with that. The typical Australian brogue sounds much more closely related to a non-rhotic British accent to me.

Edited by mounty, Nov 19 2010, 5:54am :

I always knew my cousin wan't speaking english even though he would claim he was

but dang thats a bit of a wait, shame too as its been working well according to people I know who have it

Teebor said,
I always knew my cousin wan't speaking english even though he would claim he was

but dang thats a bit of a wait, shame too as its been working well according to people I know who have it

I am sure it has to do with Australian Accent...