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Only the US and Japan will have launch day access to the hailed TV features of Microsoft's next generation console, the Xbox One.

Although shunned by some gamers for detracting from a console's traditional focus on video games, Microsoft is marketing the Xbox One as an all-in-one entertainment system that aims to compete with Roku and Apple TV for dominance of the living room.


Microsoft promises more TV programs

Whether the Xbox One ends up a living room success story depends largely on how it will manage to blend video games with television. In an attempt to raise the stakes, Microsoft has announced that it has big plans for the TV. In a recent interview, corporate vice president Phil Spencer talked about "literally hundreds of ideas" that Microsoft is looking at to expand the Xbox One's TV functionality.

So far, we know that a live action show based on the acclaimed "Halo" video game franchise is in the works, and that Microsoft will be collaborating with the National Football League to provide a range of special features for sports fans (including live game stats, commentary and highlights). Phil Spencer also added that an official announcement detailing future plans for the TV will be made soon. It is very likely that we'll see more sports programs being thrown into the mix, with a particular focus on international sports, according to Spencer.

But Europeans have to wait

Unfortunately, none of this good stuff will be reaching European consumers on November 22, the Xbox One's international launch date. Microsoft executive Albert Penello clarified that although they don't have a solution right away, TV functionality is still an important part of Microsoft's vision for the next generation console. One justification for this delay is that Microsoft has to deal with a multitude of TV networks spanning several regional markets across Europe.

However, in an unexpected statement that may enrage some European customers, Albert Penello explained that demographics play a role in the reason why Microsoft has not insisted on solving this issue already. Fortunately, European users can expect a resolution sometime in the future, when prices will go down, and people interested in TV features will become more likely to embrace the Xbox One.

"It's not going to be us - it's not the early adopters that this is a problem for - which is why we're not prioritizing solving it right off the bat, because the price of the consoles will have to come down like they do in every generation, the market will expand, we'll eventually catch up to the people who are probably laggards in TV, and by that time we'll have a more robust story than we have at launch," said Penello.

In addition to missing TV features, it has been revealed that the Xbox One's much discussed voice recognition feature will be limited to ten countries at launch. In a recent IGN interview, Penello addressed this aspect as well, and explained that the new Kinect sensor is very sensitive to different accents, but is also a very different piece of technology from the original Kinect on the Xbox 360. The fact that Microsoft cannot reuse assets from the original Kinect makes the Xbox One more challenging to work with.

Sources:
ap.ign.com
metro.co.uk
www.businessweek.com
gamesided.com
 
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