After years of speculation, the final pre-next generation console launch details are falling into place. After months of rumors and speculation, some true and some debunked, we’re starting to get a clear picture of what exactly the Sony PS4 and Xbox One will offer at launch – along with the policies, prices, and release windows for each console. In the case of Sony, PlayStation fans were treated to next-gen details at a February media briefing – where a number of games and features were revealed. Months later, at E3 2013, Sony unveiled the PS4 console design along with a competitive $399 price tag – but skimped on announcing exactly when gamers would be able to get their hands on the console – sticking with the vague “Holiday 2013″ launch window.
Now, as expected, Sony has unveiled the official PS4 release date at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. While Microsoft has yet to make their Xbox One launch date official (the system will release sometime in November), Sony gamers now know that the next generation in PlayStation gaming kicks off November 15th in North America.
During the Sony Gamescom press conference, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House dropped the PS4 launch details – asserting that the system will make its debut on November 15, 2013 in North America, followed by a November 29, 2013 release in European and Latin American markets. According to House, the system will be available in 32 countries total before the end of 2013 – giving Sony a slight edge after Microsoft was forced to scale back the Xbox One launch from 21 to only 13 countries throughout 2013.
Sony also has a slight advantage in pricing, as their console will launch at $399 in the U.S. – as well as €399 and £349 in European markets. By comparison, Xbox One will release with a $499 price point in the U.S.; however, part of the discrepancy comes from including Kinect 2.0 in every Xbox One purchase – whereas Sony is selling their PlayStation 4 Camera as an entirely separate purchase (at a $59.99 cost). European Xbox One purchasers will also find a bit more relief from sticker shock via the inclusion of FIFA ’14 with every Xbox One system at launch. It’s still unclear if Microsoft will offer a similar incentive for early adopters in North America – not to mention how long the deal will be available (for now, it’s only “while supplies last”).
Overall, Sony’s November 15th date represents a savvy point on the calendar – two weeks ahead of Black Friday. Meaning that Sony could, in theory, blow through their initial launch day shipments and still have 14 days to get more consoles on the shelf for purchase on the busiest shopping day of the year. Additionally, even if PS4 is in short supply, the timing of the launch should help make the console become one of the most sought-after gifts for the Holiday 2013 shopping season – which will help Sony snag a lot of free press from morning talk shows, radio programs, and other outlets that can remind parents, not to mention aging casual gamers, the PS4 is available.
It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft gets their console out the gate before Sony – given that two weeks of the Xbox One’s planned November launch window will occur before the PS4 is available. That said, it’s unlikely that Microsoft will readjust their launch date as a result of Sony’s confirmed November 15 date – especially given that the Xbox team is already scaling back the amount of countries that will see Xbox One in 2013 (indicating they might be hard to come by). As a result, whenever Microsoft’s new console becomes available, it’ll launch on a date the company can reasonably support – instead of simply rushing to get ahead of Sony.
PS4 launches November 15, 2013 in North America and November 29, 2013 in Europe and Latin America.
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