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Sony reveals PS4 release date, Microsoft still quiet on Xbox One launch

The gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany has led to the emergence of new key information on Sony Corporation (Sony) and Microsoft Corporation’s (Microsoft) launch plans for the PS4 and Xbox One. Notably, a solid release date was absent from Microsoft’s keynote at the event, but Sony announced that its PS4 would release in North America on 15 November and in Europe on 29 November, 2013.

Rather than nailing down a definitive release date for the Xbox One, which currently holds a November 2013 release date, Microsoft took to the stage to showcase the console’s launch software lineup. In fact, having performed a U-turn on the majority of its original plans for the console, such as DRM restrictions and an “always on” Kinect, the company seems to be focusing heavily on the gaming experience and exclusive content it is able to offer consumers.

There is no doubt that Microsoft does hold valuable exclusivity deals: Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, published by ELECTRONIC ARTS INC. (EA), is currently only slated for an Xbox One and PC release and looks to be a strong software title. Interestingly, Microsoft’s exclusivity partnership with EA becomes more apparent when taking the company’s flagship sports franchise into consideration: Fifa.

During the event, Microsoft revealed that it would be bundling a free digital copy of FIFA 14 with pre-ordered consoles in Europe. This partnership could serve to be a major boon to Microsoft, especially considering that the Xbox One launch date has been pushed back to 2014 in eight key European markets, including the Netherlands and Belgium. It also shows Microsoft’s intentions of attracting the masses of more casual gamers to its next generation console.

By way of contrast, Sony remains confident in the power of its console, continuing to refer to it as the most powerful games console ever, and a maintaining a focus on the gaming experience on offer. The company has also slashed the price of its fledgling handheld console, the PSVita, which has direct complimentary functionality with the PS4. Sony will hope that this will increase the likelihood of consumers opting to buy both of the company’s flagship consoles.

Perhaps the most information given by Sony at gamescom is the PS4 release date. By hitting November in both North America and Europe, Sony has effectively put pressure on Microsoft for the release of the Xbox One. In order to beat Sony to market in the US, a key market for both companies, Microsoft must release the Xbox One in the first two weeks of November, although the company should easily be able to release the console in its key European markets before the PS4.

In fact, given the fact that Microsoft also announced a yet to be priced Call of Duty Ghosts bundle for Europe, it looks likely that the Xbox One’s release date could coincide with that of Activision Blizzard, Inc.’s blockbuster title on November 5, 2013.

Find this interesting? You may also like our ‘SWOT Analysis Profile on Sony’.

For more updates on the technology and telecoms sectors, follow me on Twitter:@Matt_MarketLine


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