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Just days before it was supposed to launch in China, Microsoft will delay releasing the Xbox One game console for Chinese consumers until later this year. The launch was originally expected for Tuesday, September 23 local time. Microsoft will host an Xbox One launch event at the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai sometime before the end of 2014.
Regardless of how it sells, this is a major milestone for Microsoft - the Xbox One will be the first game console to launch in China in the past 15 years - as the Chinese government continues to embrace western technologies. Companies are excited about the possibility of reaching millions of the consumers embracing consoles and other technologies for the first time.
Microsoft hopes a big launch in China will help give the company a much-needed sales boost, as the company continues to struggle against the Sony PlayStation 4. Not surprisingly, the Xbox One flopped heavily after launching in Japan, with domestic companies Sony and Nintendo setting the pace.
A Microsoft Xbox One geek turned his Xbox One console into a portable chassis complete with a 22-inch screen that can be placed in a backpack. Designed by hardware modder Ed Zarick, he used Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printers to create a new custom chassis, while leaving the hardware alone.
Trying to turn the Xbox One into a gaming laptop will be an expensive project: $1,400 without the Kinect or $1,500 with a Kinect. Interested modders will also have to pay more for an HDMI-out port. The Xbox laptop is a 500GB Xbox One that uses a 22-inch Vizio 1080p screen, vinyl casing, front slot-loading disc drive and cable connects left on the back of the unit.
The Sony PlayStation 4 has surpassed one million units sold in the United Kingdom, thanks to a sales surge because of the recent release of Destiny. It took less than 10 months to reach the 1 million unit mark, a faster tally than the PlayStation 2 or 3 in England.
"It's a fortuitous coincidence that the launch of Destiny will bring us over the million mark," said Fergal Gara, Sony Computer Entertainment UK managing director. "If you reflect back to last year, we announced PS4 and Destiny at the same time."
Even though global PS4 sales slowed in August, the console was still able to top the Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U. Each company is preparing for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, with Microsoft expected to do everything possible to generate sales to better compete against Sony.
Microsoft has historically had a difficult time trying to sell its game consoles in Japan, where Sony's PlayStation platform has dominated. Not surprisingly, the Xbox One - which trails global sales behind the PlayStation 4 - and has fallen flat during Microsoft's first few days in Japan. Just 23,562 Xbox One units were sold in the first four days, with the Xbox and Xbox 360 both selling better during their launch weekends.
The PS4 sold 308,000 units as the Nintendo Wii U sold 322,000 during the first few days they were available in Japan. Microsoft launched the Xbox One in Japan on September 6 and included a game catalog of 29 different titles, hoping it would be enough to get Japanese consumers interested.
Microsoft hopes a lower price tag and console bundles will help increase sales - as all three companies prepare for what could become an extremely busy Christmas holiday shopping season this year.
If you have purchased a Microsoft Xbox One game console and think it is louder than it should be, Microsoft is willing to send out replacements. It's unknown how many customers have complained, but it reportedly is a "small number" of systems - with a growing number of Xbox fans complaining about it, especially after launching in new regions.
"We have heard that a small number of Xbox One owners in some situations may hear a noise from the console that is too loud,", a Microsoft spokesperson recently confirmed. "While this does not affect the safety or functionality of the system, we're asking customers who believe they are experience this issue to contact Xbox Support. At the request of our customers, we are exchanging those consoles for new systems."
The louder Xbox One doesn't help entice consumers to purchase the console, which has steadily trailed the Sony PlayStation 4. Both devices were released last November, and are preparing for what could be a very competitive Christmas holiday shopping season. In September, Microsoft launched the Xbox in Chile, Colombia, Japan and sixteen other countries - with scheduled launches in Israel, China and Russia scheduled for later this month.
The Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U game platforms saw sales bumps in August, but still couldn't compete against the Sony PlayStation 4 in the United States, analysts recently noted. The Xbox One saw a 14 percent month-over-month boost to account for 150,000 units sold, while the Wii U saw tremendous growth of 11 percent year-over-year up to 65,000. Although the PS4 had a 14 percent month-over-month drop, the console still racked up 175,000 units sold in the same timeframe.
"We expect PS4's [August] sales to again exceed those of the Xbox One," said Michael Pachter, Wedbush Morgan analyst. "[PS4 still outside Xbox One] despite the June introduction of a $400 Xbox One without Kinect and the August release of a $400 Madden NFL 15 bundle that includes a download code [for Madden], essentially bundling the game for free."
Although the Wii U and Xbox One both saw boosted sales figures in August, it must be troubling that neither platform can still compete on the sales chart against the PS4. Since the PS4 and Xbox One were released in November 2013, it has been domination by Sony's console - and despite a price cut and more console/game bundles, this will continue to be a slugfest.
Consumers interested in purchasing a new game console, take note: Microsoft is offering a promotion from September 7 to September 13 in which any game is available for free with an Xbox One console purchase. Best Buy, GameStop, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Toys 'R Us, and other major retailers are expected to support the promotion.
Most free game promotions force gamers to choose from a pre-determined selection, but Microsoft hopes offering more freedom will help boost sales. However, the game must be available during the week-long promo - and doesn't apply to games scheduled for release later this year - and won't apply to refurbished consoles or used games.
Xbox One hardware sales drastically trail the Sony PlayStation 4 game console, but this could help Microsoft close the gap. Also worth noting, Bungie's release of Destiny takes place on September 9, so this could help entice consumers to purchase an Xbox One instead of a PS4.
Microsoft is launching its Xbox One console in 28 new countries this month, where it started off in Chile and Columbia yesterday. Tomorrow sees the launch of the Xbox One in Japan, while China receives it on September 23 and Russia three days later on September 26.
September 16 is a big day for Xbox, where the Xbox One launches in 16 new countries. The launch of the Xbox One in China is a big deal, as it is the first time that a console made outside of China has launched in the country, with the Chinese government banning foreign consoles sales in the country over the last 14 years. Microsoft has a full list of dates and countries for the Xbox One launch, which are:
- 9/2: Chile and Colombia
- 9/4: Japan
- 9/5: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
- 9/15: Israel
- 9/23: Hong Kong, India, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan
- 9/23: China
- 9/26: Russia
We've been expecting this update for the Xbox One for a while now, but it's finally rolling out to users across the world, and will continue to do so over the coming days.
The new update for the Xbox One includes a new media player app, which will bring file support for MKV (which is a very big deal), animated GIFs, and DNLA support by the end of the year. We will also have new party features, new SmartGlass features, an option to boot directly to the TV, and much more. The full list of updates can be found in the full story.
Microsoft will release a standalone Kinect for the Xbox One on October 7 and it will cost $149 with a free copy of Dance Central Spotlight included. The game title will be released in September and will only cost $10. It seems surprising that Microsoft has decided to release the Kinect as a standalone product with such a high price tag, but there will be wiggle room to see if consumers are willing to spend that much for it.
Some have wondered how important the Kinect is for Microsoft's long-term strategy, as the company released a $400 Xbox One bundle in June that didn't include it. However, Microsoft said it saw "increased demand" for the pricier $500 Xbox One bundle that did include the Kinect.
It's a good idea for Microsoft to introduce the Kinect as a standalone option, as gamers will be able to pick one up if they don't already own one - a standalone PC version of the Kinect was made available in July for $200, popular among PC enthusiasts and researchers.