Aussies Get Kinect Voice Control And Zune Pass

Microsoft's launched voice control for Kinect today, along with the Australian release of the Zune Music Pass subscription service. Zune Music pass will launch as a subscription service on November 16 at $11.99 per month or $119.90 annually, with the option to run the service on Xbox Live, Windows PCs and Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The release notes that around 11 million tracks will be available. I'm at the launch event right now and will update with my impressions once the event actually starts.

On the talking side, we've known about voice control for a while now. A long while. In fact, an incredibly long while, but at long last, today… we've got a timeline. According to the official release, Voice Control for games will work from tomorrow, but if you want to talk to your Xbox to control broader entertainment functions, you'll have to wait until mid-December.


    Is this the Zune pass where you get to keep the music, or the one where it's all temporary?

      *Get to keep X songs per month, where X is greater than 0

        you get to keep 13 million songs at your fingers. Welcome to 2011.

          until the servers or your internet connection goes down; or until the service gets canned. Local storage is a ways off from being irrelevant. Especially in Australia.

            It's generally cached on your PC, but DRM means you need an active subscritpion.

              huh. That's pretty cool. But how much does it cache? Every song you listen to? I guess that'd be OK for intermittent outages.

              Still, I want to buy high-quality, DRM-free music to use as I see fit. iTunes has the DRM-free part right, although God knows why you can't buy ALAC tracks. Still, I'm m4a is fine as all my more modern devices (Nokia phone, Creative player) can play 'em.

                With Zune Music Pass you can download an unlimited number of tracks for offline use, limited only by your storage capacity on PC or Windows Phone.

                Tracks in Zune Music Marketplace will be available for purchase in MP3 format.

                  where'd you get that info from? could you share the link plz? thanks

        Its a shame if its not... But i guess we have to wait and see...

      I'm 99% sure you won't be able to keep any tracks. That has been removed from Zune Pass in the US (though people who already have that option can keep it). The new price for the 'no keep tracks' Zune Music Pass is US$9.99, which is basically what the AU$11.99 price is (Zune Pass was US$15 with 10 tracks to keep).

      It's a shame because I would actually go for the Zune Pass (I have a Zune HD and WP7 and Xbox) if I got to keep 10 tracks a month, but have little interest in it otherwise.

      They said it is the "Zune Music Pass" which is how the re-launched service WITHOUT the 10 songs was branded.

      Even new customers in the US cannot get the 10-song deal anymore, so I doubt that deal will be extended going forward. Only those who already have the subscription will be grandfathered in.

      Its official now...!/Windows7AU/status/129055034859208704

      No 10 free songs...

    Oh my god!

    So there will be a kinect update tomorrow we can download to get this thing to work as promised ?


    Not knowing how Zune music works, by MS enabling Zune Music Pass in Australia, will I be able to by music in the same way as iTunes (just the ones I want, one by one), or is it just the subscription/streaming service?

      You *should* (based on other Zune Music countries) be able to buy individual items and tracks, as well as subscribe to the Zune Pass.

      Can't you already buy music and video from the Zune marketplace? Recently installed Zune on my PC (it's great) and I've not bought anything, but the marketplace is there...

        There is a (small) selection of movies, but not music (though if you're using the beta Zune software from updating your phone or have used a reg hack you will see the music marketplace as well).

          I stand corrected - seems like only Zune Pass will be available, with no 10 downloads to keep, and no purchases of albums/individual songs

          "In addition, users who are shy to subscription services might be slightly dissapointed. According to Microsoft representatives, songs or albums will not be available individually priced. Apparently this is not something that will be available soon after launch either."

            What the hell? No purchasing? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I have no interest in a subscription for music. I buy my music. I am at an age where I no longer care too much about new music. I would be happy with a subscription PLUS 10 songs...

   mind is blown by how stupid it is to offer a subscription without the ability to buy tracks...

            I can only hope that the article is wrong...surely the music publishers would prefer the ability to sell their product in more ways to more people?

              That blog is completely wrong. Zune will offer a la carte purchases of tracks, albums and music videos starting on November 16th.

                I want to believe you but i have seen multiple websites saying you can't. I am of course happy to be proved very wrong.

    my god, now if only they would release the zune hd i would be in heaven

      They won't be releasing the Zune HD. You can get one from the US. It is an awesome device. I got one the day they went on sale, and it works in Australia (except HD radio).

    What about NZ??? Did they mention if it included new zealand too?

    In the US, the Zune Pass gives you unlimited streaming plus 10 to-keep tracks per month. Hopefully the same here.
    You can listen to all the music you want for very cheap. I'd rather do this than infringe copyright, it's all about the convenience.

    I'm pretty sure the voice commands already work in game. I'm using an Australian account, and without any adjustments Forza 4 and the Kinect Sports 2 demo have been able to recognize my voice commands.
    Maybe this will improve it?

    Voice commands integrated into the Xbox dashboard is going to take until mid-december, still well over a month away.

    WTF!?! Why on Earth would I pay to listen to music if I don't have the option to buy the stuff I like? This is complete madness. There was a time when I might have thought about a Zune Pass, at least to check it out, but if I can't buy anything, it would just be wasted money, so they won't be getting mine.

    However, the big upside is that this should mean that all our Zunes will be able to download band bios and photos and stuff once again, which is way more important to me.

      Don't get too worked up, you will definitely be able to purchase music. Tracks, albums and music videos.


    Now i can finally cancel my US account :D

    This is good news indeed...

    I do hope the keep 10 songs per month is still valid :D

      Guess Not :(!/Windows7AU/status/129055034859208704

    No 10 tracks to keep. Bit of a sod, that, but really, beats listening to shitty commercial radio, and it's not 'so' expensive to prevent buying any albums cheap on CD. Depends how many people can use the service per Live ID - I mean, if I had two Win Pho's, and one was set up with someone elses Live ID, can it have access to zune pass?!

      If its anything like the US one the only way is to have the same Live ID assigned to each WP7 (which means emails etc are all shared across the 3 devices etc)

      Which personally i think is pretty annoying but i think you can see why they dont allow any 'sharing' feature

    No option to buy?
    Then if it's only a simple subscription to what amounts to your own little programmable radio... You can just do what we used to do in the old days: Tape off your fave songs while they're playing. ;)

    Of course you just install decent recording software and set it to record what's playing on the system at the time, then turn the file into an MP3. It can be a little tricky to setup sometimes, but shouldn't take you more than an hour- then you keep what you want.

      I believe the buying option comes out at the same time :P (Zune Music isnt even released here yet so this is a launch for that service as well)

      Currently based on previous details its 129 msp per song ish

    I really hope NZ gets it too, was it mentioned?

    Only old Zune Pass holders from USA get to keep their songs (paying $15US a month) everyone else such as UK, new USA etc. - and soon Australia too, Zune Pass means streaming only.

      Correct me if I'm wrong but all Zune (New and old) allow downloading of songs... They just require a valid subscription to play...

        Correct but old US could keep 10 with out subscription.

    Thinking about it some more, the big advantage of this new Zune Music Pass will be using it with Smart DJ to find new music and give you chance to listen to it before you buy. I find it almost impossible to find any new music I like, so I will at least give it a whirl to see if it can come up with anything, although I'll be surprised if it can.

    This is obviously the $9.99 USA streaming option, converted to $11.99 AUD. Still a great option, as long as you keep paying, you get unlimited downloads.

    Considering I JUST bought an album on iTunes for $15.99, this option is already better as I'll have the song as long as I keep paying. If I don't obviously I'll lose it, but I'm happy to pay.

    microsoft really dropped the ball on kinect in australia.

    i bought one for my parents because they were intrested in the fitness stuff, and voice control was promised *shortly*

    when shortly turns out to be an entire year later, it makes you wonder how they get away with crap like this...

    Even 2 songs a month.. FFS MS. Give us something to keep.

    What happened to keeping us updated after the event started?

    Long Zheng has confirmed through his MS connections there will be downloadable purchases.

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