Will Either Next-Gen Console Release Locally This Year? Probably Not
E3 has progressively become less and less relevant over the past few years, with keynotes becoming nothing more than hour showcases that highlighted the lack of innovation in the industry lately. Obviously, the plethora of shooters didn’t do much to change that last night, but E3 2013 will forever be remembered for a few notable moments; Sony showing Microsoft up in glorious style, the Xbox One having some rather incredible exclusives and proof that the gamers voice can still be heard above all the publisher garbage that usually fills the air.
It was a rewarding event for anyone who calls themselves a gamer, one night to truly sit down and marvel at the industry we love. But as soon as the curtains fell and E3 went to sleep for the night, the internet was buzzing with all the news emitting from the event. Prices and release dates were thrown around, with Microsoft seemingly misunderstanding the idea of a world-wide release and announcing only 21 regions that would receive the next-gen console this November, for $499 no less. Sony made no announcement for the PS4 release date during their keynote, but a press release that made its way online just after the conference indicated a similar holiday 2013 release window.
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Thing is, does this include us?
We’ve already heard from Microsoft South Africa that the Xbox One will not release locally this year, falling into a later release window that stretches back as far as Q2 next year. We’ve been reassured that they are actively working on getting this date moved forward, but even if they manage to do so I highly doubt we’ll see the next generation of Xbox on local shores in time for Christmas. This is especially bad when you take into account that the Xbox One (like the 360) will be region locked, ruling out any chance for an import. It sounds like even more gloom to compound Microsoft’s woes after last night, but it’s not exactly all smiles over at Sony’s end either.
While they may have announced a vague “Holiday 2013” release window, Sony has yet to go into specifics regarding which regions would receive the PS4 first. Although they announced in February that the console would launch worldwide on the same date, Microsoft did the same thing, meaning even this statement is open for interpretation. This would be an ideal chance for Sony to gain a rather vital foothold in markets that will not be seeing an Xbox One this year, not that Sony really needs the advantage now anyway. Thankfully, the PS4 won’t be region-locked, meaning diehard fans could spend the extra cash to get one imported from Europe.
Regardless, the prospect of not seeing either next-gen console on local shores this year is a very real fear. Should the PS4 not make it around the globe by the end of the year, the only way we’ll see any new consoles around will be via imports, which could cost a pretty penny when you take into account our shit exchange rate at the moment. Could you imagine the rest of the world getting their hands on all the next-gen goodness months before we have a shot? I certainly don’t want that to happen.
But at the end of the day, what can we do about it? These decisions are made by those much higher up than local representatives, so it’s going to be hopeful thinking that plans that have been set in stone already will be subject to change. Please, Sony and Microsoft, do not forsake us for too ling.