Microsoft has confirmed that its next-generation video games console, the Xbox One, will be hitting Australian stores on November 22. A new pre-order bundle including the game FIFA 14 was also announced. With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to make your decision: will it be the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One?
The Xbox One will be landing on our shores November 22, which makes us one of the first regions to receive the console. (The November 22 launch date will include 13 countries in all, with the rest of the world to follow in 2014.)
As previously confirmed, the new console will retail for $599 in Australia which is a reasonable markup of around $50 compared to in the US (tax inclusive). Microsoft is currently offering a pre-order bundle which includes a free copy of FIFA 14.
"Australians love their sport and their sports games and our Xbox One FIFA 14 bundle in particular is our gift to those Xbox fans who pre-order early," explained Microsoft Australia's Jeremy Hinton.
Customers who have already pre-ordered the Day One Edition Console will also be getting a free copy of FIFA 14.
We can see why Microsoft chose to bundle FIFA with its console: while not everybody loves football games, it's an inoffensive and polished title that can be enjoyed by all ages, making it the perfect choice in the lead-up to Christmas.
Check out the below video for more details about the launch date from Xbox's chief marketing officer Yusef Mehdi:
The PlayStation 3, meanwhile, will land on 29th November, which gives Microsoft a tiny head start on the Christmas shopping season. It will sell for $550 in Australia -- $49 less than the Xbox One -- although no pre-order game bundles have been announced yet.
It will be interesting to see where the chips fall once both consoles are available to buy in Australia. As always, it will eventually come down to the games selection and price tag. Currently, it could be argued that Sony has both these categories stitched up, but we wouldn't rule Microsoft out just yet.
That said, there's no denying that the Xbox One is the current underdog of this console generation (unless you count the Wii U of course). From its disastrous E3 performance to its desperate flip-flopping on DRM policy, things simply haven't been going well for Microsoft.
This is a fascinating reversal of the last console generation when the PlayStation 3 stumbled from grace. Sony made some very unpopular announcements in the lead-up to the PS3's launch (sound familiar?) and public opinion shifted accordingly. By the time it finally limped through the front gates it had been rendered a dazed, pummelled and bloodied mess by endless attacks from the press.
This time around, it has been Microsoft feeling the most heat. Meanwhile, Sony managed to garner rapturous applause simply by stating its console will let you share games. It would seem gamer loyalty is a fickle thing. (As well it should be -- as a paying customer, you owe these companies nothing.)
Which console are you planning to buy first this generation? Share your reasoning in the comments section below.