Earlier today news broke that voice control and video chat features would not be available for the Kinect at launch. This would have been a big blow to Microsoft as these features are main highlights of Kinect.
MCV mag reported this earlier today after speaking with Xbox Live EMEA marketing manager Robin Burrowes. He stated, “we will be announcing when voice control will be turned on in due course.” He also apparently confirmed that video chat, which was demoed at E3, will not be available at launch.
Microsoft has since then responded to this report, correcting Burrowes’s statement. According to a Microsoft spokesperson voice control will most definitely be available at launch for the U.S. For other countries, the release window for voice control is still to be decided.
Response from Microsoft:
Voice control is an exciting part of the Kinect for Xbox 360 controller-free experience and we can confirm that it will be available at launch in November 2010. Only on Xbox 360 will you be able to navigate the Kinect Hub using your voice to control your movies, TV Shows and music. We do not have additional details to share about local voice availability at this time.
Judging from Microsoft’s response or lack thereof, it appears that video chat will indeed not be available at launch.
Thanks for the tip yankeestiger!