David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
Microsoft finally, and quietly, made official a November 22 launch date in the U.S. and a dozen other countries for its long-in-coming new game console, the Xbox One, according to a company blog post by Corporate VP Yusuf Mehdi. The base model will sell for $499 in the States. The date means the Xbox One will hit stores a week after its next-gen archrival, Sony’s PS4, launches in North America and Europe for $399, and a week ahead of “Black Friday,” the year’s biggest shopping day. November 22 also is the date Microsoft launched its current-generation Xbox 360 eight years ago. Mehdi’s post said the company has sold out its pre-launch allotment of Xbox Ones for the U.S. and would offer a “limited number” of additional “Day One” machines for special order. With full production underway, the company has goosed up the machine’s processing speeds, making the CPU about 10 percent more powerful than originally announced specs.
On August 14, Microsoft scaled back launch ambitions, citing localization and other challenges. It cut from 21 to 13 the number of countries that will get the machine on November 22. Russia and seven smaller European countries now will get the machine “as soon as possible in 2014”.
The company unveiled the new console in May, then had a bumpy ride at the big E3 game conference in June over policies many fans considered anti-consumer. The company backed off several of the policies days later. In July, its division head, Don Mattrick, left Microsoft to take over as Zynga’s CEO, and last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced a major company-wide reorganization, then said he would retire within the year.