Xbox fans, it's time to mark your calendars.
Microsoft has set a November 22 release date for the Xbox One, covering 13 markets: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The price is $500, including the console, one controller, a new version of Kinect and a wired headset.
Larry Hryb, Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live, said in a blog post that the console will launch in more markets next year, but didn't offer any specifics.
In the United States, Sony's rival Playstation 4 will launch one week earlier, on November 15, while the Europe launch is set for November 29. The PS4 will be $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, and while its motion-sensing camera will cost an additional $60, many of the PS4's online features will be available for free. Microsoft is putting some features, such as streaming video apps and in-game DVR, behind its $60-per-year Xbox Live paywall.
Earlier this week, Microsoft also revealed that it has managed to boost the Xbox One's CPU speed by 150 MHz, bringing the clock speed to 1.75 GHz. Microsoft had already managed to squeeze an extra 53 MHz out of the graphics processor, bringing the GPU speed up to 853 MHz.
While neither of these spec boosts will lead to dramatic performance improvements, they do show that Microsoft has a handle on production and will (hopefully) avoid another “red ring of death” situation with the Xbox One.
If you're interested in picking up the Xbox One, Microsoft and Best Buy are still offering the “Day One Edition” of the console, which is guaranteed to be available on November 22. This version also comes with a commemorative controller, an “exclusive achievement” and special packaging. And fear not: Plenty of software will come with the shiny new hardware. Microsoft has already announced a slew of triple-A titles that will be available at the Xbox One's launch.