E3 2013: Microsoft announces sales date for Xbox One

Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment division, explains the firm's Xbox One strategy

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Microsoft has announced the launch date and price for its new Xbox One.

The new console will go on sale in November this year, with a recommended retail price of £429 in the UK, $499 in the US and 499 euros.

The announcement was made during its keynote opening event at the E3 games expo in Los Angeles.

Rival console manufacturer Sony said its console would be out during the "holiday 2013" period, although no official date has been set.

If both the PlayStation 4 and the XBox One go on sale in November this year, it would be the first time the two rivals have launched simultaneously. Previous consoles were released at least a year apart.

View from E3

Prior to this event at E3, much criticism was levelled at Microsoft over rumours it would force gamers to be "always online" when playing Xbox One.

After the lukewarm reception a few weeks ago, Microsoft opted to focus on the games.

Titles like Forza Motorsport 5 gave a glimpse of "cloud" gaming, while others - such as Konami's Metal Gear Solid 5 - hinted at real-time missions. Even when you're not playing, "you" still are - things will happen, stories will move on, missions may change.

The demos here were not merely theatrical trailers, but gameplay footage - the first real indicator we have had as to how the console will actually really feel.

Minor technical issues aside - at one point sound was lost, prompting some overly-enthusiastic audience members to create their own noises instead - it was an impressive way to kick off this year's E3. Your move, Sony.

Aoife Wilson, a Staff Writer with Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine, told BBC News that there did not appear to be any reason for the increased price in Europe compared to the US.

"There's a 34% mark up on the price this side of the Atlantic and there's no real reason I can see for that", she said.

"The price seems to be a real sticking point for many people, based on the comments I've seen on Twitter. But the XBox One has so many unique capabilities over its rival, that it might just give them the edge."

"I think people will be willing to pay that price and I do think that price will come down next year", she added.

By comparison, when Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 in 2005, it had a launch price in the UK of £279.99, $399 in the US and 399 euros.

New games

Most of the event was used to showcase the new titles that would accompany the launch.

As both Sony and Microsoft know, a good exclusive title can dramatically increase the popularity and sales of a new console. Many have put the initial success of Microsoft's first console - the XBox - when it launched in 2001 down to securing the exclusive on the first person shooter Halo.

The first game shown at the event was Ryse: Son of Rome.

Ryse: Son of Rome Ryse has been in development for at least two years

A first person hack-and-slash action game, developed by Crytek, it puts you in the boots of a soldier of the Roman empire. The game had originally been announced as a XBox 360 exclusive at E3 two years ago.

Other exclusive titles, such as Killer Instinct and Forza 5 were also shown.

Microsoft also announced it was going to set up five in-house development studios to create exclusive content.

A number of other titles were also showcased, including Minecraft ,the block mining and building game; a new version of Halo due out in 2014; DeadRising 3, a zombie horror game; and a new version of the first person shooter Battlefield series.

Read more of the BBC's E3 coverage.

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