The release date for Microsoft’s new Xbox One is here at long last: November 22. The date primes Microsoft for the holiday season—you don’t say!—but also puts it a week behind rival Sony, which will launch its PlayStation 4 on November 15.
Microsoft’s new console is now timed to launch on exactly the same day that its predecessor, the Xbox 360, went on sale in 2005. Symbolism is nice and all, but you have to wonder if losing a week to the competition is worth it. The Xbox One will launch in the United States and 12 other major markets, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.
Given the prohibitive pricing and hardware longevity of a new gaming console, launch date strategy for game consoles isn’t quite the same intricate chess game that smartphone makers play. After Microsoft backtracked on several controversial Xbox One “features” to placate its core gamer consumer base, most hardcore gamers know which console they’ll be buying—ahem, the PS4— and they might have already pre-ordered it.
For gaming manufacturers, console strategy is about building future-proof hardware and playing the long game. After all, the last console generation spanned eight entire years—an unthinkable longevity for almost any other kind of hardware.
Pre-orders for both consoles have been open since Microsoft and Sony made their respective announcements. In August, Sony reported over one million cumulative pre-orders for the PS4 and Microsoft claims that pre-orders supply is selling out quick.
In the U.S. Xbox One will be priced at $499, and it will sell for £429 in the U.K. and €499 in Europe. Sony’s PlayStation 4 is priced at a considerably cheaper $399, £349 and €399, respectively. Last time around, Sony’s PlayStation 3 was the more expensive option, so the pricing flip-flop should set up an epic war befitting of the two most powerful gaming consoles ever crafted.
Photo by Taylor Hatmaker