Microsoft: The Xbox One delays in some European markets are "simply a software issue"

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that a number of European countries would not be part of the company's Xbox One launch plans for November 2013. Specifically, the countries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland won't sell the console locally until sometime in 2014.

While there was speculation that Microsoft was delaying the Xbox One launches in those countries due to shipment and supply issues , Microsoft's Xbox director of marketing Albert Penello told fans on the NeoGAF message board that was not the case. He stated:

Launch volumes are not really an issue. This was simply a software issue in terms of getting local language and voice support in the dash. It's pretty straightforward, but disappointing I know for people who are missing launch.

Microsoft has already said they will give gamers in those affected countries a free game when the Xbox One launches in those markets. But what if some of those people don't want to wait and buy a console from another country and then bring it home? Penello, in another NeoGAF post, stated that all Xbox One games will be region free and the console itself will work anywhere. He added:

You can use one of the 13 digital marketplaces corresponding to our launch markets, assuming you have a valid payment instrument for those countries. Lots of people in Europe travel, move, and visit family.

While games are region free, Penello said that music and video content that are available on Xbox Live could still be restricted depending on each country's licensing issues. For example, Netflix streaming will be a part of Xbox One, but not all countries currently allow Netflix support.

Source: NeoGAF | Image via Microsoft

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Yes, because gamers in Switzerland don't speak German, or French, right? No, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with language, and everything to do with the fact that they can't get enough ESRAM to make enough consoles.

John Nemesh said,
Yes, because gamers in Switzerland don't speak German, or French, right? No, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with language, and everything to do with the fact that they can't get enough ESRAM to make enough consoles.

Oh thank you I just commented on a currency hypothisis. Forgot about language equalities in Germany and Switserland. So what software localization issues remain...

Oh and look at Apple and Siri, Years after it being a unique selling point Siri still does not understand or speak Dutch. The iphone was not discarted by consumers as a bad experience....

I agree: hardware/supply issues!

For example, Netflix streaming will be a part of Xbox One,

This bit interested me. Does this mean that Netflix will be a baked in part of the console now, and not just a third party app that you have to load that takes you out of the Xbox dashboard?

TCLN Ryster said,

This bit interested me. Does this mean that Netflix will be a baked in part of the console now, and not just a third party app that you have to load that takes you out of the Xbox dashboard?

Doubt it. Makes more sense to be an app. But why is that an issue? The Windows-based OS on the 360 is always running meaning you can switch to it instantly unlike the 360 which takes forever. I envision it to be like the start screen in Windows 8. A button press and BAM you're there.

I found the 360 app to be clunky and relatively slow to load, I also wished it was more integrated rather than being a totally separate experience and interface. I'd've liked Netflix to have been a separate "blade" on the console so I could just slide over to it, then scroll through the content on that blade.

Here's hoping the WinRT based solution on the X1 will be better.

There's a thread in the MS console section with a leaked Q&A sheet that shows, if true, that the XB1 handles locale setting much the same was that Windows PCs do, you can set your locale to be, for example the UK or France if and import the XB1 to one of the places that don't support it. The games are region free and will play just fine, you can connect to XB1 as well since you can easily change your locale it says. The only issue with it is that you need the matching currency to use on the XBL store. If you go with pre-paid cards then that's fine but if you try with a CC that's not in a matching currency, i.e. the Euro, then you're SOL.

They say it's software issues I also think it's taking a bit longer for them to rework the new local currency options for those markets. Notice how the places that are getting it still are all using the more widely used currency globally, that being the USD, UKP, EURO, AUD. The other markets that aren't in it, well, a good number of them iirc, while part of the EU have stuck with their local currency and never switched to the Euro.

GP007 said,
There's a thread in the MS console section with a leaked Q&A sheet that shows, if true, that the XB1 handles locale setting much the same was that Windows PCs do, you can set your locale to be, for example the UK or France if and import the XB1 to one of the places that don't support it. The games are region free and will play just fine, you can connect to XB1 as well since you can easily change your locale it says. The only issue with it is that you need the matching currency to use on the XBL store. If you go with pre-paid cards then that's fine but if you try with a CC that's not in a matching currency, i.e. the Euro, then you're SOL.

They say it's software issues I also think it's taking a bit longer for them to rework the new local currency options for those markets. Notice how the places that are getting it still are all using the more widely used currency globally, that being the USD, UKP, EURO, AUD. The other markets that aren't in it, well, a good number of them iirc, while part of the EU have stuck with their local currency and never switched to the Euro.

Sorry to bust your hypothisis, it is not a currency/software issue. Belgium and the Netherlands have used the Euro since its introduction.

Localised speech recognition seems a far more plausable reason, though I personally still think it is due to hardware/supply issues.

Just give me English, it will be much better supported anyways. This was the problem with the original Kinect too. Because MS didn't have Speech rec. for Norwegian, they decided to disable Speech(in dash) by default based on Xbox live region(!!). I'd take English any day, but it wasn't possible without vpn.

But I understand that they want it to work great for non-techy buyers on day one. I just hope we're getting it in January, and not later.

Non-techies, or those who don't practically have English as their 2nd mother tongue, are not likely going to be early adopters.

This is why I wonder if MS bothered to investigate it before hand. Just a poll in those countries would say enough 1) Buy Xbox English only, 2) rather wait months and buy a locale.

Its more than just a speaking English or speaking German (or whatever European country is getting delayed) issue. Every one in that country may speak English but i would guess more than 90% speak it with a strong accent from that area and kinect would not understand them. However i guess they could release it and just say here is a kinect but it will not work for a couple months till we sort the localization out. Unfortunately for most people getting something and it being horrible experience is a lot more damaging than getting something later than you expected. Techies are going to buy it no matter what.

Shadowzz said,
Its not like you hold entire conversations with the XBO. Isnt most just simple commands?

That is right, Kinect is command driven. However, the thick accent could be the roadblock if they do launch Xbox One without localization.

A good example for that is Dragon Naturally Speaking. You can set Dragon for English with Spanish or Australian accent for it to recognize the way you speak English. Granted Dragon has been doing this for a long time, and MS is probably still building a database for it.

Of my gaming mates in my surrounding, only 1 (maybe 2) has their locale set to Dutch, and he has no issues playing on other consoles that are set to English. It's mainly cause of his family, the older generations, parents etc, are not all as well with English as most that are born in the last 30 or so years.
But of those in this group that don't speak English very well, I seriously doubt many of those will be early adopters.

Personally, that's unacceptable. Can't they just make it known that Day 1 don't have locale and they're updating it in the future? Is there any laws around releasing a product in a market without the locale on it?

scorp508 said,
A tough choice to make. Is it better to not give at all, or to give a crappy experience?

Everywhere in Europe speaks English pretty much. Anyone who's bothered about a games console anyway.

scorp508 said,
A tough choice to make. Is it better to not give at all, or to give a crappy experience?

A delay will be forgotten, the crappy experience will never be forgotten. Just ask the Windows team how their launches went hah.

Just because you can "speak" English doesn't mean you do it the same way. When the Kinect first launched, it couldn't understand my mother with her thick German accent.

JonnyLH said,

Everywhere in Europe speaks English pretty much. Anyone who's bothered about a games console anyway.

possibly not you, but do you speak for the majority of your xbox one potential customers? Most likely no, as is the case with opinion on tech sites, people lose or don't have to start with a general grip on peoples opinions.