No European Kinect Voice Control At Launch
Last week, we received an ominous report that Kinect's voice control features wouldn't be activated at launch. Microsoft later refuted the controversial allegation from MCV... but as I mentioned in the update, they remained suspiciously cagey about whether all languages will be supported. As it turns out, Kinect will be denying voice control to a lot of potential buyers this November.
The Kinect software will only recognise American and British English, Japanese and Mexican Spanish when November 10th rolls around, meaning that mainland Europe will have to wait until Spring 2011 for an update. Most vexingly, fluent English-speaking continental gamers and even Canadians won't be able to activate Kinect's voice controls until next year since the Xbox 360 is strictly region locked.
I'm sure that most of our readership won't be affected, but I'm still annoyed (but not surprised) by yet another potential publicity disaster for Microsoft's peripheral. My hands-on time has convinced me that Kinect is an immensely capable piece of kit... yet as it stands, Microsoft appears to be actively attempting to run it into the ground with a blunderous campaign. Discuss. [Eurogamer]
Valve To Deliver 3 "Big Surprises" This Year
Valve's Gamescom showing was interesting but fairly unremarkable- and worlds away from Gabe Newell's ridiculous E3 presentation earlier this year. However, Newell has promised that we'll be shocked by no less than three revelations over the next twelve months.
“I can guarantee you people are going to be surprised at stuff we do. That isn’t going to stop any time soon. I’m just laughing because… people will be shocked again."
“We have three pretty big surprises in the next 12 months at least.”- Gabe Newell to PC Gamer
Valve's last "big surprise" was confirming Portal 2 and Steamworks for the PS3, so it's possible that we might be seeing some more loving for Sony's console. However, it surely must be time for a new Source engine, Episode 3 or Half Life 3 itself to make an appearance. Or all three. Here's hoping. [PC Gamer via CVG]
Xbox 360 D-Pad Redesign Hitting November 9th
The Xbox 360 controller is a nifty piece of kit. It's ergonomically-sculpted, comfortable and perfectly weighted... but the D-Pad is sadly lacking thanks to clacky and unresponsive 8-way controls. However, a redesigned controller with an impressive new look will be rolling out this November; featuring a D-Pad that can be transformed from a traditional 8-way input into a raised traditional 4-way pad depending on player preference. This promises to be perfect for fighting games, SHMUPS and, well, pretty much everything.
Check out a video of the new peripheral in action below, courtesy of the indefatigable Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb. Stateside gamers will be able to get their hands on the new controller on November 9th for $64, and we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for news of a European release. [Major Nelson]