After months of speculation we finally know when Microsoft will release the Xbox One: November 22. That puts the $499 console just a week after the launch of the PlayStation 4 and a week before Black Friday, the darkest day in consumer history. The system will launch in 13 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, UK, and the United States.
Most retailers have closed pre-orders on the console, but if you're late to the game Xbox One Day One Editions are still available at Best Buy, Walmart (in-store only), Gamestop, and the Microsoft Store.
Despite the $100 price premium and the week lead the PlayStation 4 has, I don't expect launch day to be rough for the Xbox One. Launch days for both systems will be down to fulfilling pre-orders. I asked Baird Research analyst Colin Sebastian if the week delay would present a problem for Microsoft and he agrees that it shouldn't.
"I would say the one week advantage probably gives Sony a short term PR advantage, but the reality of this launch is that both new platforms will be supply constrained," Sebastian told me. "For Xbox, the important milestone was getting into U.S. stores in time for Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend. If there were unlimited supplies, then the price difference would matter more."
Microsoft has largely dug itself out of the hole it created with the first Xbox One reveal. Hardcore Xbox fans had already pre-ordered the system, and those or the fence began to change over were Microsoft reversed course on the always-online DRM. There's now a sense of parity between the two consoles, with Redditors coming down on both sides. Some are buying the Xbox One, some buying are the PS4, and some are buying both, but choosing one console as their first purchase.
"I have Day One editions of both consoles pre-ordered, but like other people, I may not keep both. I feel like the Sony and the PS4 offer more value to me as a gamer. They have more exclusives that I want to play, interesting innovations in the works (game streaming service), and the lower price coupled with the controller redesign has me really leaning towards a PS4 right now," said Redditor SuperDave21.
"I had both pre-ordered, cancelled my PS4 pre-order and paid off the XB1," added user J-Gets. "Wish I could have both at launch, but I can't, and the XB1 exclusives for the next year spoke more to me (Dead Rising 3, Titanfall, Quantum Break.) Plus, with the non-gaming features/home theater integration aspects, it was easier to get my wife on board with XB1."
It's a far cry from the clear lead in mindshare that Sony had at E3. The real battle will be during this holiday season and the first quarter of next year. That will be when both consoles begin to find solid footing and stake their claims on the market heading into next year's E3.