According to a Wall Street Journal report, Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will not launch in Asia until “late 2014,” which places its launch window about one full year behind the U.S. release this November.
Microsoft’s regional vice president for sales and marketing in Asia, Alan Bowman, made the surprising announcement to the WSJ, calling the decision a “staged approach” to marketing the Xbox One. Alan added that the long delay would ensure a “great experience for customers” in the region by allowing for localized content.
Shockingly, Microsoft’s Asian launch plans for the Xbox One do not seem to include Japan, as Bowman noted that the console will only be available in “select Asian markets.” This appears to only include; Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India.
In addition to the new report, Microsoft has also updated their own Xbox One support page with the following (very short) list of countries that will support the required connection to the Xbox One Live service when the console launches this November:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Microsoft also noted that “Xbox One games are for activation and distribution only in specified geographic regions,” meaning gamers in non-supported countries will not be able to import and use the console.
The Xbox 360 has never had much luck in Japan, but it is still a bit surprising to see exactly how limited Microsoft’s Xbox One launch plans are. Pushing back the whole of Asia by a full year, and not even confirming Japan, seems like it will only result in handing a large market to Sony and Nintendo.