87°
Mostly sunny
SUN
 89°
 53°
MON
 90°
 58°
TUE
 82°
 56°
WED
 78°
 56°
THU
 79°
 53°

Last hours to vote for the Best of Sonoma County finalists! Don't miss out!

New Xbox One hard of hearing

  • At a recent demonstration of the Xbox One, the successor to the popular Xbox 360 required several commands to be duplicated in order to pop up on screen. The gaming console is set for release Nov. 22, 2013. (Photo by Al Powers/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES — Like a stubborn family member or insubordinate employee, Xbox One owners might need to tell their fancy new console what to do more than once.

In flashy commercials that began airing last week to promote Microsoft's upcoming video game system, an array of users verbally command their Xbox Ones to do stuff like answer a Skype call, fire up a "Titanfall" match or play the latest "Star Trek" film. The ads leave out one detail: They probably had to repeat themselves a couple of times for it to work.

At a demonstration of the Xbox One this week organized by Microsoft, the new version of the company's voice-and-motion-detecting Kinect sensor didn't work nearly as flawlessly in real life. The Xbox 360 successor, which is scheduled for release Nov. 22, required several commands to be repeated for the response to pop up on screen.

During a private 45-minute presentation showcasing the console's media and entertainment capabilities, about 10 of 45 voice commands issued had to be repeated by a Microsoft spokesman — some as many as four times. Kinect didn't immediately detect such orders as "Xbox, watch ESPN" and "Xbox, Bing movies with Sandra Bullock" during the demo.

"Everything you're seeing here is going to get better," promised Jose Pinero, senior director of marketing and public relations for Xbox, at the conclusion of Wednesday's demo. "Right now, we're still a couple of weeks away but voice, the more you use it and the more the system learns, the more accurate it becomes. We're still working on fit and finish."

When the company unveiled the Xbox One at its Redmond, Wash., headquarters last May, Microsoft hyped the machine not as a super-powered gaming console but as an all-in-one entertainment solution for living rooms that would allow users to easily switch between — and snap together — activities on a TV screen, without needing to mash buttons.

The previous Kinect sensor was equally billed as a game changer when it debuted in 2010 but was considered by many gamers to ultimately be a gimmick.

comments powered by Disqus
© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View