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Microsoft Clarifies 'Xbox Music' Reports
Microsoft Clarifies 'Xbox Music' Reports
July 12, 2011 | By Mike Rose

[UPDATE: Microsoft has clarified that Business Insider's report of 'Xbox Music' features is erroneous, as the company was actually showing existing Zune Music functionality on the Xbox 360, activated via a Kinect voice command. Gamasutra regrets the error.]

Microsoft will launch a new music service on Xbox 360 later this year as part of its drive to expand entertainment facilities on the console.

As revealed by CEO Steve Ballmer at the Microsoft Partner Conference on Monday, and reported by Business Insider, Xbox Music is set to launch this fall.

The service will initially offer more than 11 million songs, and make use of the console's Kinect hardware, allowing users to search for songs via voice recognition.

No more specifics were revealed, and it was not explained how Xbox Music will differ from the current Zune Marketplace on Xbox Live. No pricing model or specific launch date has yet been given.

Xbox Music is part of Microsoft's expansion of the Xbox 360's abilities, as Dennis Durkin, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, recently told Gamasutra that the company is looking to drive platform momentum.

"[When] we launched the New Xbox experience in 2008, we added in new entertainment categories," he explained. "Not only has gaming usage gone up, but non-gaming has as well."

"As we add new entertainment categories, we appeal to broader entertainment segments. If we can provide content for all of them, we can be relevant to all of them."

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Tim Hesse
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Bye Bye Zune branding?

David Clair
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As long as this rew service (if replaceing Zune) keeps an equivalent to the "Zune Pass" it may be a good change...

John McMahon
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Why can't voice recognition work with a headset? I'm not buying Kinect for voice-control and I already am not buying it for, ha, "gameplay"

warren blyth
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it is a mystery (not sure anyone but microsoft can explain definitively), but two things come to mind:

- headset has very low quality cheap mic. which makes it much harder to process the captured audio.

- and kinect arguably has onboard processing of some sort, which helps speed the process. I'm guessing here, but other devices which handle motion sensing often have their own "brain" that is programmed everytime they start up. this brain can help simplify captured images to a tiny data format (which is why they are much more responsive than a webcam, which sends compressed full color images). It's conceivable a similar approach is being applied to resolving the multiple mics inside the Kinect: and its conceivable kinect's brain is helping to pre-process the audio data for voice rec.

Vaguely conceivable that when you start this music service, kinect could be reprogramming it's dedicated hardware to focus on voice rec related tasks.

but not likely.

Probably it's all being done in the xbox, and they could just use the damned headsets. :)

(just seems worth keeping the possibility in mind, until we know for sure).

(also comes to mind that a cheap headset might actually be BETTER for voice rec, on some level, due to its proximity to the mouth. hmmf.)