Xbox One put back till 2014 in parts of Europe

Gamers in eight European countries will have to wait until next year to get an Xbox One. Microsoft has promised a free game as compensation for those affected.

Microsoft had promised to launch the console in 21 markets in November, something it now admits “was an aggressive goal.”

It now says the console will go on sale “as soon as possible in 2014” in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland.

According to Microsoft the problem isn’t with production or distribution, but rather some of the features on the console itself. It says it needs more time for “work to localize the Xbox One dash, incorporate additional voice and languages, and build partnerships to bring apps and meaningful local content to each country.”

Those who’ve pre-ordered the console in the affected countries will receive a free game bundled with their console. Microsoft says users should check with the relevant retailer closer to launch for more details on this.

The console is still scheduled for a November release in seven European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) along with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United States and New Zealand.

Several of the countries affected share a border and a common currency and electrical system with countries where the console hasn’t been delayed, and in many cases dual membership of the European Union cuts down on trade restrictions. That raises the possibility that some dedicated gamers may either cross the border or import an Xbox One and games from another country.

Thanks to Microsoft backtracking on its requirements for regular online connections, it looks as if such imports should be technically viable. The only potential hold-up is that new games must be verified online at initial set-up. It’s not yet clear if Microsoft’s online systems will throw up any problems when somebody tries to register a game in a country where the console isn’t yet on sale, though the discs themselves will be region-free.

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