LOS ANGELES — In flashy commercials to promote Microsoft's upcoming video game system, users verbally command their Xbox Ones to do stuff like answer a Skype call, fire up a Titanfall match or play a 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. The Xbox 360 successor, 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.
Unlike the last Kinect, Microsoft is including the new sensor with each Xbox One system, which will cost $499. The updated version of the camera has a field of vision that's 60 percent wider than Kinect for Xbox 360. It can also detect more bodies, as well as heart rates and facial expressions.
While the Xbox One's voice detection did not function properly at Wednesday's demo, other Xbox One features operated without fault. Graphically, the Xbox One interface was able to almost seamlessly switch between such features as playing Forza Motorsport 5, watching a live episode of Let's Make a Deal and viewing a channel guide.
The Xbox One can play live TV and provide listings if hooked up to a TV receiver, but it can't act as a TV recording device.