Confirming recent rumors, Microsoft officially announced today that they have cut the number of markets that the Xbox One will launch in this year from 21 to just 13 countries.
The platform holder confirmed the disappointing news on Xbox.com in a statement that reads in part:
“At E3, we announced that Xbox One would be available in 21 markets around the world at launch. This was an aggressive goal and the team has been working very hard to deliver Xbox One to as many markets as possible.”
“Our priority is ensuring our customers get the best Xbox One experience the first day it is available. To do that, and in order to meet demand, we have adjusted the number of markets that will receive Xbox One in November to 13 markets, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States and New Zealand, in November.”
“We remain committed to launching Xbox One in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, as soon as possible in 2014.”
Rumors stating that manufacturing problems with the Xbox One could delay a 2013 launch have circulated around the Internet since last September, but Microsoft did not confirm that line of speculation in today’s announcement. Instead, the company stated that the time needed to “localize the Xbox One dash, incorporate additional voice and languages, and build [app] partnerships” is the primary reason for the delay.
Microsoft’s original plan to skip all of Asia for the 2013 launch of the Xbox One, seemed like a bit of a risk as it would basically hand those markets to Sony and Nintendo. This new scaled back launch is even more troubling as it also concedes a significant portion of Europe to the PlayStation 4 until sometime next year.
The one bit of good news in all of this is that smaller launch should allow Microsoft to be able to push a fairly decent number of the next-gen consoles through the retail chain in the remaining 13 markets.
Sadly, that is not going to be much of a consolation for the millions of Swedish small business owners who were counting on using the Xbox One as a way to finally get their hands on an affordable Skype and Internet Explorer solution.