Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the Xbox One console is launching in thirteen markets on November 22, 2013 (opens in new tab), exactly one week before the Black Friday mob cleans up retail aisles like fish tank bottom feeders. The console will be made available in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and USA. Many more markets will follow in 2014.
"We are humbled and gratified by the tremendous interest in Xbox One from game fans everywhere. We have sold out of our pre-order supply in the U.S. faster than at any other time in our history and we are on path to have the biggest launch of an Xbox ever," says Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing, Strategy and Business, Xbox. "We look forward to celebrating with millions and millions of gamers this holiday."
Mehdi adds that thanks to popular demand, Microsoft is making available even more Xbox One Day One consoles to purchase esrly. The pre-purchase website can be found here (opens in new tab), offering a link to Microsoft's own virtual storefront (opens in new tab) and a link to other participating retailers including Amazon (opens in new tab), Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Toys'R'Us and Walmart. The $499 pricetag includes the console, Kinect 2.0, chat headset, an exclusive achievement, and a controller, but expect many retailers to offer bundles that send that pricetag through the roof.
Microsoft's Graeme Boyd clarified on Monday that the Xbox One Day One edition bundled with FIFA 14 will only be offered in Europe. The game will be included in the package as a download code added to the paperwork instead of a bundled physical copy. "Had a few questions on this so wanted to clarify: FIFA 14 will only come free with Xbox One Day One Edition pre-orders, while stocks last," he said.
Sony's competing next-gen PlayStation 4 will arrive just a few days earlier on November 15 in North America and Canada, and then on November 29 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The console will sell for $399, undercutting Microsoft's gaming beast, but will not include the PlayStation Eye accessory. The Xbox One is a complete package for $100 more.
"November 22 is a special day in Xbox history – on this day, we first launched Xbox 360 in 2005," Mehdi added. "Our next chapter begins in 79 days, when Xbox One becomes available. We built Xbox One to bring you the best games, unrivaled multiplayer and more entertainment than ever before. It’s nearly time to say “Xbox On” and open a new world of games and entertainment."
Who will score the most revenue this holiday season? Microsoft or Sony? With all the previous controversy surrounding the Xbox One, privacy and used game policies, will many Xbox fans jump ship and head over to Team PlayStation. We'll find out on December 31.