At their conference last night at E3 in Los Angeles, Microsoft finally revealed their hand for their "next-generation" console, the Xbox One. Coming in a package that includes the console itself, a controller, and a brand new, upgraded Kinect sensor, the Xbox One will launch this November, at a cost of £429. That's 499 Euros, and $499 - and makes Microsoft's console the most expensive console to ever launch in the UK and Europe.
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Releasing just in time for the Christmas rush, the Xbox One will hit the shelves in 21 countries worldwide this November, alongside a slate of exclusive games which include Roman-themed hack and slash game Ryse: Son of Rome, the zombie survival sequel Dead Rising 3, motion based sports collection Kinect Sports: Rivals, and realistic racer Forza Motorsport 5.
Interestingly, Microsoft will also be offering a special "Day One" bundle of the console, which retails for the same price, but guarantees you a console on launch day if you pre-order it. Coming with an exclusive "Day One" edition controller (that looks the same as the normal controller, but has "Day One Edition" stamped on the front), and a "commemorative achievement", it's an interesting idea for those looking to pick the console up on day one, if nothing else. In the meantime, there'll also be a selection of "Day One" edition games available for pre-order, too, which similarly grant you access to exclusive bits and pieces - a special sword and multiplayer map in Ryse, four tuned cars for Forza Motorsport 5, some "exclusive sporting equipment" in Kinect Sports: Rivals, and an exclusive Frank West/Chuck Greene Tribute Pack in Dead Rising 3, that'll presumably let you kit your character out like the stars of the previous two games. You've covered wars, y'know.
Weighing in at a surprisingly high £429, the Xbox One takes the record for the most expensive console launch in the UK, stealing the crown from previous record holder, the PS3, by a mere £4. That said, the high price really held the Playstation 3 back at its launch, and was a major factor in the console's struggles during its first few years of life. Subsequent price drops, and a strong line-up of games put the console back on the right track, but Microsoft may now have a rather steep hill to climb to match the success of the 360. While the high price is presumably to cater for Kinect, which comes included in every box (and it's worth remembering, the previous Kinect sensor launched for £120), Sony have just announced that their console, the Playstation 4 will be launching at around the same time, for £350 - or almost £100 cheaper. That's the cost of two games on its own. When you consider that the Playstation 4 also won't be placing any restrictions on used games, and won't require an internet connection, unlike the Xbox One, it makes the high price point all the more surprising.
As ever though, it'll be the games that decide the sale. If retailers put some decent bundles together, and the console has the games to support it, it may yet do better than many expect. With the console having already broken pre-order records at Amazon (although admittedly, that was before the price and online/pre-owned restrictions were announced), the next few months are going to be an exciting time indeed.