Microsoft’s latest games console Xbox One is set to be released on November 22.
Xbox One will initially be available in 13 countries – UK, US, Ireland, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Remaining markets will follow in early 2014, Microsoft confirmed.
The timing of the launch will mean it beats close rival Sony’s PlayStation 4 to the shelves in much of the world by one week.
The exception is North America, where Sony’s console will be available on November 15.
The releases set up the first new console war since 2006, the last time both firms had fresh gaming machines on the market.
Xbox’s marketing vice-president, Yusuf Mehdi, announced the firm’s rollout plans 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,” he said.
Xbox One is set to be released on November 22
“There is still a lot more work to do, but the teams are making excellent progress and are focused on launch.”
Yusuf Mehdi confirmed that the console recently entered full production in preparation for the launch. Pre-orders had sold out faster than any of the company’s previous gaming products, he said.
He also confirmed that the console’s CPU had been upgraded by around 10% – from 1.6 Ghz to 1.75 Ghz.
It has been an uneasy few months for Microsoft in the run-up to this major launch.
In July, Microsoft lost its head of interactive entertainment, Don Mattrick, to social gaming company Zynga.
Don Mattrick left at a time when Microsoft was still bruised by a damaging performance at E3, the biggest gaming event in the calendar.
Microsoft had announced that the Xbox One would be more expensive than the PlayStation 4, and controversy surrounded various decisions regarding the firm’s policy on playing pre-owned games on the system.
In a dramatic U-turn a week later, Microsoft said it would drop heavily criticized restrictions on the console, was seen as a somewhat embarrassing exercise in damage limitation.
But that will all ultimately be forgotten by gamers once the consoles go on sale, and the Xbox One’s games line-up looks to set it up in good shape for the crucial first Christmas.
In particular, big-name exclusive titles and additional content on best-sellers such as EA’s FIFA football series are likely to drive sales.
Facebook has been dealt another blow after Zynga, the gaming company responsible for much of its revenue, announced that it was slashing its outlook for the year.
Facebook shares had slipped by 2.5% to $21.41 by Friday afternoon after Zynga announced that its number of paying customers had fallen.
Analysts have once again reduced their expectations for Facebook over fears that the company is overly dependent on the struggling maker of FarmVille and Mafia Wars.
At one point Zynga’s shares fell by 20% to just $2.21 – a fraction of the $15-plus they were worth in March.
Facebook is strongly exposed to any deterioration in Zynga’s performance, as it derives around one seventh of its revenue from the company’s games.
In turn, Zynga is heavily dependent on Facebook – it gets most of its revenue from titles that are played on PCs using the site’s social gaming platform.
Its games FarmVille, FrontierVille, Zynga Poker, Mafia Wars and CityVille accounted for 83% of the total revenue last year.
In July, it reported a sharp fall in second-quarter revenue as it struggled to retain users on Facebook.
The percentage of paying users continues to decline as a greater variety of games becomes available for free on Facebook, Macquarie Equities Research analyst Michael Pachter said.
The company has also been hit by delays in its game pipeline as older titles fade and it has struggled to come up with new hits for mobile devices.
Zynga said on Thursday it was still struggling to stem user flight from Facebook games like CityVille and FarmVille.
“Modest user churn and engagement erosion likely accelerated during the spring and has continued to date,” Piper Jaffray & Co analyst Michael Olson said.
The company will continue to struggle because of newer titles overtaking older and more successful games and lower revenue generation rates for its mobile games, according to another analyst.
The company’s more recent hit games such as Words With Friends and Draw Something were developed by independent firms which were then purchased at huge cost, not created in-house.
As these games are mostly played on mobile devices, they generate less revenue for Zynga.
During the third quarter, Zynga was hit by a charge of up to $95 million related to its $182 million acquisition of OMGPOP, the creator of Draw Something.
Macquarie Equities Research cut its price target on Zynga stock to $2.50 from $3.50. Wedbush Securities slashed its price target to $4.00 from $7.00 and Evercore Partners cut its target to $1.70 from $2.00.
The San Francisco-based company, which went public with much fanfare in December, has since lost three quarters of its market value.
Though the company’s new web-based games began well, growth tailed off after hitting about 7 million daily active users.
Several of its top executives including Chief Operating Officer John Schappert and Chief Creative Officer Mike Verdu have quit the company since August.