So for those of you who either haven’t followed the news closely or just haven’t heard the news yet: Microsoft announced the release date for the Xbox One today. Instead of doing so at E3, Gamescom, or PAX, they announced it today, September 4th. Is there any real reason for this particular date? To be honest, I have no clue. Someone with more knowledge about Microsoft consoles or Microsoft could probably tell you the significance of this day to announce a console release date—if there is any significance at all.
But I digress; the release date in the thirteen territories that the Xbox One will be released in is November 22nd, 2013. The first thirteen places that the Xbox One will be released in are as follows: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things for the console launches of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One?
Well, the way I see it, the week difference means very little, if anything. Yes, the PlayStation 4 will be launching a week earlier in the United States, on November 15th, and a week later in Europe, on November 29th, but as I see it, the release dates aren’t going to affect this next generation of consoles other than who will be playing Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 first. It seems like; at least how I think I’ve been seeing and reading it, that whoever has the head start will become the winner of the next generation, and that it won’t be a contest: all over seven days.
Again, maybe I see it incredibly differently; maybe the week difference will be the absolute deciding factor in this console war. But thinking about it, pre-orders for both consoles are mostly, if not all sold out at this point, the people who are getting a PlayStation 4 are getting a PlayStation 4, the people who are getting an Xbox One are getting an Xbox One, and the people who are getting both are getting, well, both. A week earlier of a release date for a PlayStation 4 more than likely won’t have a person jump ship from getting an Xbox One to the PlayStation 4. If they’ve decided to get a PlayStation 4 over an Xbox One, it would be because they originally decided to make the switch due to games, price, or policies. Likewise, a person in Europe probably won’t decide to change their PlayStation 4 pre-order for an Xbox One pre-order (unless a free copy of FIFA is REALLY worth it to them) because of the week difference.
It seems more that the release dates being how they are end up being more important to gamers rather than for sales or anything like that. Both consoles are, at this point, presumably doing well in pre-orders (I believe that the PlayStation 4 is over one million, and I’m not sure about the Xbox One pre-orders), so release dates, as long as they’re before Black Friday, and as long as they’re able to keep a steady stream of consoles flowing, are somewhat irrelevant.
Of course, it is nice to know when the final two next generation consoles will be launching this year, I’m glad to know when my PlayStation 4 will be arriving at my house, and it will be nice to know that pretty soon, this rather long, drawn out console generation will be ending and we’ll be, at least presumably, getting a fresh coat of paint.
But, whether I turn out right or wrong on this issue, put me in the camp that believes that the release date will have no real effect on sales of either console. What I do believe though, is that, with the release dates we have planned for the final two consoles that will be coming out, it’ll be an incredibly interesting November and December, to say the least.