UK & World News
Xbox One's Christmas Battle With PlayStation 4
Microsoft has announced the eagerly anticipated Xbox One games console will hit shops on November 22.
The launch in the UK, USA, Australia and several other countries puts it on a course to battle with Sony's PlayStation 4, which will also be available in time for Christmas.
Microsoft says pre-production orders in some stores have already sold out, forcing it to boost production in factories.
Improvements to the console include a central processor running around 16% faster than previous models, a redesigned controller with a screw-free back, improved D-pad and touch-sensitive feedback to the triggers.
Developers are expected to take advantage of the extra speed and processing power to produce faster, better games for consumers.
"The Xbox One will have that much more power for developers to make their games and entertainment really shine," Vice President of marketing Yusuf Mehdi said in a statement.
"The culmination of many years of listening to you, our fans, developing innovative technology, and partnering with the best game and entertainment partners in the industry has brought us to this point."
Despite the improvements, enthusiasts expressed disappointment when Microsoft revealed in May the console would sell for £429.
The PlayStation 4 is set to have a price tag of £350. Both companies are battling to regain ground after years without new hardware launches and the increasing presence of mobile and tablet games.
Sony appeared to take a swipe at Microsoft in June by releasing a mocking video guide to underscore the fact Xbox One does not use a disc-based system.
The Xbox One will launch in the following 13 countries on November 22: Australia; Austria; Brazil; Canada; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Mexico; New Zealand; Spain; UK and the USA. More markets are expected to follow in 2014.
The original Xbox 360 was released in 36 countries in 2005 more countries than any other console in a single year.