After much speculation, Microsoft has officially announced a release date for its next generation console. The Xbox One will launch on November 22, a bit later than anticipated and a week after its main rival, Sony’s PlayStation 4.

The Xbox One will retail for $499 and will be available in 13 territories as of November 22. These include North America and the UK, but also Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, among others.

Xbox One to Launch November 22

The Xbox One release date does not seem random, as this is the same day that the Xbox 360 launched in North America in 2005, so Microsoft is probably hoping that the new system will replicate or even surpass its predecessor’s success.

Microsoft also confirmed that the Xbox One CPU will be boosted to 1.75 GHz as previously suggested. The company also said that the gaming system is already in full production. To confirm, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson released the first images of the new consoles being readied for shipment. Larry Hyrb posted two images on Twitter, showing a case of consoles and a loaded pallet, ready to be shipped to retailers.

The Xbox One will retail with one controller, a headset, a Kinect sensor and a HDMI cable. The console’s Day One Editions are again available for pre-order, Microsoft said. Customers who have ordered Day One editions in Europe will be given a free download code for the game FIFA 14.

At launch, there will be 23 titles available for the new Microsoft console, including exclusive games such as Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct and others.

It is not yet known when the Xbox One will launch on other markets except the 13 territories that will see the release on November 22. Microsoft recently said the gaming system will be available in other European countries such as Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and others as of 2014.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 will retail for $399 and will launch on November 15 in North America and on November 29 in Europe. The PS4 has widely been seen as a favorite with gamers, due most of all to its lower price tag.

Microsoft however seems pretty confident that the Xbox One will withstand and maybe even overcome the competition. So what do you think of their decision to launch the new console after the PlayStation 4? A smart move or a marketing disaster?

[Image via geekosystem]