The XB1 fails on voice input
Disclaimer: These views and opinions were formed with reviews and videos of said reviews of the XB1. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to play around with one myself.
Yet again, MS has found a way to somehow miss the boat. It's exeedingly interesting this time around, as they were the ones actually building the damn thing in the first place!
I'm talking about the weird choices and limitations of the XB1 voice commands (more popularly known as the kinect features). Somehow, MS decided that voice recognition on a next-gen home entertainment device that would place itself in the center of our entertainment lives should have sub-par voice recognition from the 90's.
So what am I going on about? Well, here's the list;
Dissapointing actual voice recognition performance
As seen from many reviews, though most of the time the Xbox actually gets the recognition right, it is so far dissapointing - or maybe I was hoping for too much. As a long time WP user and someone who tried to get Vista / W7 voice commands working, I can say that MS has done nearly no work on this. When I place my WP and Android tablet side by side, Google manages to understand what I'm saying much much better then my WP. Maybe that is because MS has favoured US and UK accents and this stuff works better there? I can't speak for that, but my experience has not been good so far.
But all-in-all, from what I've watched all morning, the XB1 seems to be using the same voice recognition software on WP and Windows, and that is just not encouraging.
What's even more worrying is that, with such a powerfull array of microphones, the kinect is still performing sub-par in this area.
No natural language input
Are you kidding me? Who's bright idea was that in 2013, the next gen console would launch with voice triggers instead of actually understanding what I'm trying to say? I have to say "launch forza motorsports 5" to launch the game? I can't say "watch twich" but I have to say "go to Twitch" because it's an app? The software can't even distinguish that it is an app that has content to watch? I mean, let alone natural language processing, it should at least have had meta-tag equavelents on apps so that phrases like "watch twitch" would work too.
This is mind boggling and I'm very very dissapointed that MS took such a cheap shortcut with it's voice implementation.
There are arguments that it is made this way so that the Xbox wont pickup you talking with your friends and mis-interpret them as commands. There are manmy ways to overcome this, and using kinect to see if I'm talking to the console or talking to my friends is just the simplest one that just came to my mind now (determening which way I'm facing as I speak). Better options exist, with point-like systems that evaluate how likely I was talking to the system, thus in turn leaving me even more relaxed when I communicate with my device.
Language selection tied with marketplace (+ possibly tied with my live account location?)
Ok this is another one, and MS is very vague about this. There are tons of scenarios that MS can't plan for, thus should leave options like this to the user. They don't want to complicate issues for their home (US) market? Well okay, make defaults as they are now - but give me options to change that, you can hide them if you want, just let them exist in the first place.
First, I want to be able to change the OS language, I hate translations of the original OS language and prefer to use it in english on all devices I own. This should not be tied down to the location XB1 was purchased from.
Second, you should let me chose what language I want to use speech recognition on. I might be an American living in Germany that had his Xbox purchased from France. You should stop trying to F*** me over, that is not in your best interest nor mine. Stop complicating things.
Can't all these be fixed?
Now, it's not all that bad. All the issues I've brought up can be fixed with software - and most probably in a very quick manner. But knowing MS, I'm not really holding my breath on this.
It's been over a year since WP8 launched here in Turkey. We still have bad maps (thankfully Nokia saved us on that one), really bad bing search with no localized conent even in Istanbul and absolutely no speech recognition. I can't even dictate a paragraph with my phone unless it is in English. So, yea, I'm not really holding my breath on quick fixes or even any fast progress on voice recognition etc. Not until Sony or someone else comes and shoves MS aside in the market.
/rant.P.S. I accidently published this before finishing it, so there are a few changes and fixes in there as of 20.11.13 / 14:09 GMT+2.