Christmas console wars: Microsoft announces Xbox One will go on sale before PlayStation 4
Microsoft has set up a pre-Christmas console war with Sony after announcing its new Xbox One will go on sale a week before the PlayStation 4.
The £429 console, Microsoft's first since the Xbox 360 eight years ago, will hit the high street in the UK and 12 other countries on November 22, the company said.
It comes two weeks after Sony announced the £349 fourth generation PlayStation would go on sale in the UK on November 29, with an earlier November 15 launch in the US.
Yusuf Mehdi, Xbox's corporate vice president of marketing, strategy and business, said US pre-orders of the new console had outstripped anything before it.
"The culmination of many years of listening to you, our fans, developing innovative technology and partnering with the best game and entertainment partners in the industry has brought us to this point," he said.
"There is still a lot more work to do, but the teams are making excellent progress and are focused on launch."
Mr Mehdi said the new platform would feature exclusive games like the latest Halo, Dead Rising 3, Ryse: Son of Rome and Forza Motorsport 5.
There will also be new digital content from Call of Duty: Ghosts, Battlefield 4 and FIFA 14 Ultimate Team.
He said the platform had had its CPU power increased by around 10%, from 1.6GHZ to 1.75GHZ, to give added scope to game developers.
The console will also go on sale in November in Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the US, with others to follow in 2014.
The console was unveiled in May at Microsoft's US headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
The sleek black console, with a new Kinect camera sensor and game pad, is the successor to the hugely successful Xbox 360 which sold a reported 77 million consoles around the world.
The new machine sees Microsoft add a Blu-ray drive to its console and the use of video calling service Skype.
The upgraded Kinect camera allows the device to better analyse body movements and can even read a user's heartbeat when exercising, Microsoft said at the time.
Ryan King, editor of NowGamer.com, said: "It's a smart and aggressive move by Microsoft to launch the Xbox One a week before PlayStation 4 in Europe.
"It was the move Microsoft absolutely had to make - outside of the UK, Europe has always been considered a strong territory for Sony and by beating PS4 to the shelves, Xbox One has at least ensured it has an opportunity to create some waves before Sony launches its console.
"What will also help is the extra excitement and momentum created by Microsoft deciding to go for the same launch day across the 13 territories it has chosen rather than staggering the release date.
"The flipside of this is that PS4 gets a two-week headstart on Xbox One in the US but Microsoft isn't likely to be too concerned about that, as North America has traditionally been something of an Xbox stronghold."
Belfast Telegraph Digital