Xbox One launch suffers delays, bad news for SA

Xbox One Ready When You Are

Microsoft announced in August 2013 that some countries which were part of the launch wave for the Xbox One for 22 November were going to have their launches delayed while Microsoft readied the console for their respective regions. While many fans expected a month or two delay, leaked information has surfaced that suggests their launch could be set as far back as August 2014.

The leaked information comes from Gamereactor, a European-based site that was also the first to report about the delays to the console in back in August. The site reports that Russia, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, which were all affected by the initial delay, could be made to wait until at least August 2014.

If correct, this does not bode well for South Africa, as our humble corner of the gaming world hasn’t even been mentioned yet in Microsoft’s Xbox One launch plans, pushing our launch even further back.

“We’re told Xbox One won’t launch in the Nordics until the third quarter of 2014. Given a launch in July or the first half of August is unlikely, these countries are looking at a nine to ten month delay compared to the original November launch this year in other territories,” reports Gamereactor.

“We have no confirmation on whether the other four countries mentioned above are looking at a similar launch date to the Nordics, and it remains unclear what this could mean to other territories (Japan comes to mind). The delay may mean Microsoft is either struggling with supply, or localisation is proving a massive challenge,” writes Gamereactor.

Xbox One Kinect explosion diagram

Xbox One Kinect explosion diagram

Microsoft’s problems have been mainly with the console’s Kinect integration. Because most of the Xbox One’s UI can be navigated using voice commands alone, it’s a top priority for Microsoft to get Kinect to understand not only voice commands in English with accents, but also in languages other than English. This ties in with an earlier statement made to Official Xbox Magazine when the delay was first announced to the media.

“The Xbox One launch was delayed to 2014 in eight territories – Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland – but it wasn’t because of a ‘volume issue,'” Microsoft Senior Director of Product Management and Planning, Albert Penello told OXM in August 2013.

“People assume there’s a volume issue which in fact there isn’t. You’re actually seeing pre-orders pop back up now because we’re able allocate the countries’ volumes back in. It’s there, the problem is localisation. And once people see the system and how integral it is, it’s not just text integration,” he continued.

“But at the same time we said, this is a region-free console. In regions like Switzerland where people speak German and French, they can get a German or French console. It’ll work fine. They can log in to their marketplace, use their language, we don’t geo-fence Live or any of the content any more. We don’t have official language support – but the console still works,” said Penello.

This would also explain why countries such as India and Japan were initially rumoured to have a very late 2014 release as they would be in the last few waves for the console’s launch. Although it would make more sense for Microsoft to simply update localisations as time passes and offer everything in English in the meantime, as opposed to not deploying the Xbox One in some countries at all.

Xbox One Family

Xbox One Family

It appears that, for the time being, the only way to get your hands on an Xbox One is to import it yourself. Can these guys ever catch a break? Not only has Kinect pushed up the price for the console much higher than Sony’s offering, the voice commands are also ruining their plans for timeous launches of the console. It looks like for now, Sony has Europe all to itself.

Does that mean they’re localising Kinect in all eleven official languages in time for the South African launch?

Source: Gamereactor, Official Xbox Magazine

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  • Vorastra

    PS4’s will be here soon. Pick one up.
    Why buy an inferior machine just to have voice controls and the ability to watch TV…on your TV that can watch TV already..

  • Ninja-J

    Ahhh great news :), doesn’t effect me PC is stil superior. (Console peasants ^_^ )

  • Kyle Opperman

  • Charl van der Merwe

    Microsoft’s loss really, the consoles have such similar hardware that if your main reason for getting a console is actually PLAYING GAMES and not an integrated media centre like Microsoft wants it to be,does it really matter which one you get, beside exclusives ?

    The way I see it, the xbox has superior media centre capabilities to the Ps4, and judging by the resolution debacle with bf4, the ps4 plays games better.

    So guess ‘Gamers’ will choose the ps4, doesn’t matter to me really, PC is superior :)

  • Beanz777

    Great news

  • Lydon McG

    Microsoft are cooked. So glad I’m jumping ship to Sony this generation!

  • Jacks

    Just thought I’d help drive this point home 😀

  • Jacks

    Amen brother. PC + Steambox = Win.

  • Christopher Brunsdon

    Its all about exclusive titles and I will be getting both in the end.

  • Jonathan Coetzee

    Surely this is actually better for South Africa? Last time I checked English was one of our national languages (and the main one when it comes to gaming) and therefore there is no need to work on Kinect to get it working here. MS isn’t gonna sit on tons of XBox Ones waiting for code to reach maturity, they’re gonna sell it where they can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wesley-Fick/184346154999538 Wesley Fick

    The question is what localisation do they need for the Xbox One to be successfully sold here? The local PSN and Nintendo stores are entirely in English and this avoids all the issues of localisation from a language perspective. Why does Australia get their consoles on launch day, but we don’t? Is Microsoft playing hardball with gamers because they want DSTV and other set-top box providers to partner with them?

  • Dane Bowman

    “Ready when you are”.

  • Dane Bowman

    Of course it’s all about exclusive titles. This is why I own every console ever.

  • Vorastra

    Good point. Didn’t even consider exclusives. But for those not interested in exclusives or simply don’t have the cash for 2 consoles, PS4 is the way to go.

  • AfricanJedi

    Its our accents bro. Thats the isssue.

  • Alex Rowley

    As African Jedi has pointed out, our accents will most likely be the problem. South African accents are probably one of the harder ones to get locked down. Just try using Siri in a normal speaking voice and see how far you get with that.

    Having said all that though I really doubt Microsoft will actually bother coding the X1 to work specifically with South African accents because it doesn’t really seem they care that much.

  • Jonathan Coetzee

    I don’t think it is that, the Xbox One works fine with Scottish accents which are far more distinct than ours (http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/23/xbox-one-24-hours-from-launch-how-does-it-handle-in-the-wild/) and the only countries listed above are ones where the primary language is not English.

  • Jonathan Coetzee

    I don’t think it is that though, the Xbox One works fine with Scottish accents which are far more distinct than ours (http://www.vg247.com/2013/11/23/xbox-one-24-hours-from-launch-how-does-it-handle-in-the-wild/ ) and also the only couries listed in the delay are those where the primary language is not English…

  • Jonathan Coetzee

    I don’t think that is the case, see my reply to AfricanJedi. Plus I’d imagine it’s much easier (almost trivial) to tweak interpreter to recognise slight nuances (but the structure of the language remains the same) than to train it on a completely new language…

  • Jonathan Coetzee

    Cuz Auz has much more buying power than we do, the Auz dollar is stronger than the USD btw. That and there’s a much bigger market. I think they just haven’t got round to us yet cuz of how small a market we are but like I pointed out, they’re not gonna sit around with excess stock, esp since it is so incredibly vital for them to get market share. Just my view on things, not a fan of the Xbox one, but it makes the most sense…

  • greatwyt

    i dont have an accent. you might have one, but i am from the cape flats. we dont have accents, everyone else does

  • Alex Rowley

    If you sound different to somebody else when you speak the same language then that is called an accent. Every single human in the world has one.

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