Microsoft launches new Xbox, two days ahead of Sony's PlayStation 5

Steph Deschamps / November 11, 2020


The gaming world has been waiting for the event for months: Microsoft is putting its new Xbox Series console on sale Tuesday, two days before the launch of Sony's PlayStation 5, marking the transition to a new generation of machines. The two consoles, each available in two versions at different prices, will notably compete for the hearts and wallets of players during the holiday season, traditionally lucrative for the gaming industry.


Microsoft is offering the Xbox Series X, a "premium" model at a price of 499 dollars, and its little sister the Xbox Series S, with lower display performance, no disk drive and small dimensions like its price: 299 dollars.


The American had sold half as many copies of its previous console, the Xbox One, than its Japanese rival PlayStation 4, both of which were released in late 2013.


Purchases mostly planned online with the Covid


This new chapter in video game history, however, will materialize differently from previous launches with great fanfare, due to the coronavirus and new restrictions imposed in several countries. "The pandemic has had a considerable impact" on consumer behavior with "a massive adoption of e-commerce", notes Morris Garrard, analyst at Futuresource, estimating that the majority of purchases will be made via orders delivered directly to home .


Sony has also warned that it will not sell any console in stores on the launch days of the PS5 (Thursday for several countries in Asia-Pacific and North America, then November 19 for Europe) "for the safety of players and vendors ". "Please don't plan to camp" outside the shops to avoid crowds, the Japanese group pleaded last week.


Combined with demand boosted by lifestyles that have become more home-like with the health crisis, this massive online transition "will further expose distribution to interference," Garrard told AFP. "There will inevitably be people who will use bots (automated computer programs, editor's note) to scan all the sites" and "as soon as new stocks are put on sale, they will leave in a few minutes ».


Potentially greater demand than supply


According to the analyst, "many who want to get a console may not get the chance for three to six months."


To mark the launch and ride the excitement of fans, including those who won't have a console, Microsoft has hosted a series of online events in multiple countries, starting with a countdown to midnight overnight. from Monday to Tuesday in New Zealand, the first country to switch to the new date.


It then plans a global presentation of the games on its new console, which will be streamed from Tuesday midday in the United States (19:00 GMT).

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