Why Are We Still Waiting For Kinect Voice Control In Australia?

Back in November last year, Australians were disappointed to discover that Kinect would not be launching with voice control in Australia, one of the key components of the Kinect device. Speaking to Adam Pollington, Xbox Category Manager in Australia, we were told to expect voice control to be implemented “early next year… that means roughly a late February/early March launch.” It is now June. So where is our Kinect voice control – why are we still waiting?

The silence from Microsoft has been deafening. Despite constant inquiries we have yet to hear any further details on when, of if, Australians will receive voice control for Kinect.

We decided to investigate a little further.

We received word, from someone who actually took part in the testing for Kinect Voice control, on precisely when the testing took place, and what was involved.

The tester, who wished to remain anonymous due to an NDA signed before taking part in the tests, revealed that a company called Appen invited him to test out voice control for Kinect on May 13, 2010, involving him in a series of voice controlled checks along with group of other members of the public.

Appen is a group involved in implementing voice and language technology. According to its website, Appen has performed “speech and language data collections in more than 80 languages across 40+ countries around the world.”

We called Appen to discuss the details, and Appen was happy to confirm that, yes, it was involved in data collection and language testing for Microsoft and Kinect. But the most surprising piece of information released was the fact that Appen actually finished testing voice control for Australians in November 2010.

Which begs the question – why are we still waiting for voice control to be implemented for Australian Kinect users?

Our source confirmed that the Australian voice tech for Kinect was working perfectly back when he tested the service in May 2010, so we fail to understand why – more than a year later – we still have no official timeline on precisely when we can expect a patch to be released to the public.

Voice control was an advertised part of the Kinect package. It’s one of the reasons why Australians, in their droves, purchased the device when it was released last year. The tech is there, testing was completed seven months ago.

What is the hold up Microsoft?

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