Microsoft has announced the Xbox One will launch synonymously on November 22nd 2013, across 13 territories, including North America.
Sony previously announced that its PlayStation 4 will launch November 15th in North America and November 29th in other territories. This means the PS4 will be out 7 days earlier than its competitor the Xbox One in USA and Canada, however both consoles will be available at least a week before the all important Black Friday. On the other hand, Microsofts decision to launch simultaneously in Europe, Australasia and South America means the Xbox One will be available a week before the PS4 elsewhere.
Microsofts decision to do this may seem illogical due to their home ground clearly lying in the United States and Canada, however releasing before the Playstation 4 in Europe and Australia can be attributed to their approach towards winning these markets. Microsoft launching every European Xbox One pre-order with a digital copy of Fifa 14 supports this theory. Since the early days of the first Playstation, Europe has consistently been Sony’s playground and Japan its home market but this approach by the American giant could be their first real attempt to change this status quo.
By launching in 13 territories instead of Sony’s 32, odds are Microsoft will be better prepared to meet demand in these markets, and perhaps even supply in larger quantities than Playstation 4’s. doing so for countries such as UK, Germany, Italy and other European launch countries could sway gamers console choice when they discover which is in fact available on the day.
As for North America, it seems Microsoft is confident with Sony leading the next-gen wave, allowing them a weeks head start. This could be a reflection of Xbox’s dominance in that market. Perhaps the mindshare of Xbox is so powerful, the earlier launch will not affect their own performance. Alternatively, the importance of Black Friday and to launch before this date, November 29th, is far more urgent than beating any competition. The idea behind this being buyers will wait until the Black Friday sales to purchase and also the core gamers do not have to compete with general consumers for access to a console, thereby satisfying both groups.
With each new decision and each new conference, the competition between the next generation of console gaming increases in intensity. While Sony won gamers hearts early on with their strong February reveal and E3 conference, Microsoft has been carving their way back into gamers minds. Small factors such as launch days and bundles may affect some purchase choices but ultimately it comes down to games. Titanfall, Infamous Second Son, the Order 1886, these will shape the sales of these consoles and win gamers over.