Phil Spencer is sorry about Xbox One delays - "it never feels good" to miss launch markets

"Making sure the quality of each market when we ship is the important part."

The Xbox One was originally slated to launch in 21 markets last November, but Microsoft was ultimately obliged to whittle that figure down to 13 - the console will release in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland at some point this year.

It was a bitter blow, but Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer is adamant that hitting quality targets is more important than releasing on time. As the old saying goes, you can be late repeatedly but you can only be wrong once.

According to the manufacturer's director of product strategy Albert Penello, the delay is necessary in order to perform Kinect voice localisation work. "People assume there's a volume issue which in fact there isn't," he told us back in August.


Spencer also pinned the blame on localisation in a subsequent chat - read it in the new issue of OXM, on sale now. "I wish we had the global coverage that we originally announced when we stood on stage at E3," he said, when our US colleagues asked him to pick the worst aspect of the Xbox One's launch. "I stood on stage and talked about 21 markets... there were things around the voice models and other things we needed to make sure were right in order to really build a box that felt native to the markets we were shipping in.

"It never feels good to stand on stage and talk about 21 markets and ship in 13, but it's a journey, and it's not won or lost the day after launch. It will be something that plays out, so making sure the quality of each market when we ship is the important part."

And the best aspect of the Xbox One's launch? The launch games. "The fact that we have over 20 games that look so good," observed Spencer. "The launch of the 360, we were struggling to get Perfect Dark [Zero] done in time - I think it showed some of that struggle. We didn't have that exclusive lineup we have today. The game line-up that we have - I don't want to say it's a great surprise, but it's nice to see it land the way it did."

It's rumoured that Xbox One will launch after Easter 2014 in certain regions. Entirely off my own bat, I'd say that's credible - the manufacturer will probably want to wait for the holiday buying spree, rather than slam-dunking the console straight into the mid-year lull.