Xbox One Voice Commands Are Region Locked

Le temps de pratiquer votre français!

Bad news if you are in Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, or Sweden and were planning to pop over a border and buy an Xbox One, as the voice commands are region locked to the country of purchase.

A forum user on NeoGAF asked “One simple question: Do you know if it is possible to choose English language for UI and voice commands even if the Xbox One configured to use German marketplace?” to which Microsoft’s product manager for Xbox, Albert Penello, replied, “Voice is locked to the region. So no, unfortunately.”

The Kinect voice commands will only be available in ten  of the thirteen countries in which the Xbox One is being released tonight, and of those only five countries will be able to shout “Xbox On” to turn on the system.

The Xbox One has also been delayed in Belgium and Switzerland, but as citizens of those countries speak French or German they should be able to use the voice commands.

Source: NeoGAF


  1. So if you live in England but you’re Polish, you have to try and use English?

    This seems…. wrong.

    • With no intention of starting a debate on the subject, you could argue you should be using the language of whatever country you live in out of courtesy, so learning the basic phrases for voice command in the native language could be obscurely argued as a helpful thing?

      Of course, its weird move form Microsoft, especially as it’s been marketed as such a major feature.

      • A debate for another time perhaps, but I work with a lot of Eastern Europeans and they all speak English pretty well. They do however, tend to have quite thick accents. Having watched the IGN walk through video, Kinect could barely understand an American accent…

      • @Voolar – Unfortunately this is the inherent issue with voice commands. It should be something that improves over time though.

      • BigCheese, I don’t want to start a debate either, but what you said is too simplistic and nearly as silly as MS policy.

        Most foreigners such as myself will know how to say ‘XBOX off’ and similar things, but our accents make that kind of software useless. I have a success rate of under 50% with google now in English, and as many reviews have point out voice recognition is either nearly perfect or extremely annoying.

      • What a load of rubbish if someone who’s first language isn’t English can’t speak their own tongue at home with e device they’ve bought (and it supports but locks out because of localisation).

        You should be able to choose the language per user profile. Job done.

      • Whooaa for the record I in no way agree with region locking the voice control at all! Obviously I wasn’t clear with that, I was merely offering the only sort of reasoning MS could possibly have come up with when making such a decision

      • You’ve taught me to never trust large dairy products again!

      • Haa! :) I take it Babybels are safe to eat.

    • This article is wrong….

      I’m in New Zealand, the voice commands are disabled here so I set my location to Australia and now they work fine.

      The voice commands are tied to the place you choose as your location….

      So for now if you want voice commands you’ll have to choose one of the places that has them enabled, you can change your location to the correct place when voice is enabled for your country.

  2. Pretty sure we’ve known this since E3. Still sucks today though.

  3. Well that’s just stupid. No reason for this. No-one region locks Siri or other voice controls. My girlfriend is French, if I bought this she’d have to use English. And whilst she’s fluent, I bet that her slightly off accent would not be recognised by it considering the difficulty it seems to have with British/Americans.

    • I hope accents don’t affect the usability of this, otherwise, will it be based on a southern English accent or a northern one? Because my Northern friends would not be happy with their voice not being compatible and vice versa!

  4. Makes Albert Panello’s statement of importing an X1 erm… mute

  5. What a horrible decision.

    I’m nowhere near ever buying an XBox of any kind, but that put me right off it.
    The reasons for including multilanguage options are many, and the reasons for leaving them out are all very short sighted.

    With so many people travelling the globe for work, studies etc. etc. this is just plain ludicrous.

    • maybe the speech recognition libraries are huge and to include them all on each machine would take too much storage.

      if that is the case then they should let people opt to download them if they think having the option is worth more than the space they’d take up.

      • Exactly, just like when setting up a Mac (and PC I would presume), with language packs and printer drivers.

  6. seems like all you hear about the x1 lately is what you can’t do with it.

    like the recent revelation that there doesn’t seem to be any way to see how much hard drive space you have left.
    when you have to install every game that’s a bloody big oversight.

  7. Read a review of X1 yesterday which said the voice control only gets it right about 50% of the time. It’s not bad with simple commands in a quiet room but when changing channels, games etc. even when the volume is low, or other folk are talking, it kept getting it wrong.

  8. Voice commands dont like accents as a scouser with a thick accent I know without even trying it it will not understand me or anyone else I know as well as half of Britain’s population with thick accents Scottish irish geordies yorkshire men scousers just to name few never mind someone with a thick foreign accent imho half of Britain will have trouble with this I hope they prove me wrong but I doubt it

  9. Yep, they’ll probably base the default British accent on something from a 1940’s british films leading man, any local dialects might qualify as non-region.

  10. Definitely find this pretty awful design by MS, and don’t want to say anything as a defense.
    However, I often find it hard to use or experience the language of my choice in the Sony universe too. Quite often, I have to import games from the UK to be able to play them in English, which I usually consider the ‘original version’. Of course this is just me, but I hate watching a synchronized film in the cinema either. And worse, I had to set up a second UK account for PS+, so that those games would be in English. I’m glad this works on the PS3, but it doesn’t on the Vita, as you can’t login with another account on the same machine, so your trophies are lost and you can’t play with your friends there.

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