Microsoft has revealed the list of 21 countries which will support the Xbox One at launch, intimating that the machine will not function at all in areas which aren't named. There are several notable absences, including Japan and Poland - home to some major developers.
Because of the console needing to 'check in' once every 24 hours to function, customers hoping to import a machine to an unsupported country may well find themselves out of luck. Previously, region-locked software meant that gamers would have to buy the appropriate discs for a machine, but could take that machine anywhere. Now, they'll have to wait until Microsoft decides to add their country to the list.
A list of requirements on the publisher's pre-order information page is somewhat ambiguous in its wording, claiming that users will require "a Microsoft account and an account on Xbox Live in an Xbox One-supported Xbox Live country/region", but requests for clarification to Xbox support staff seem to indicate that if your country isn't on the list, you won't be playing Xbox One.
The following exchange between an inquisitive customer and Microsoft seems to be pretty clear.
A:"Does the Xbox One disclaimer imply you won't be able to authenticate a disc-based game if not in one of the 21 countries?"
"The Xbox One will only be available in the 21 launch countries."
A:"But say someone from Poland, not listed, imports it from the UK. Will they be able to play disc-based games?"
"They would want to wait until the console is available in their region."
In an attempt to bring some clarity to yet another confusing stance on Xbox One, Microsoft has issued a statement.
"At this time, we have announced Xbox One will be available in 21 markets in November this year and additional markets later in 2014. Similar to the movie and music industry, games and other content must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale - which means that games will work in the broad geographic regions for which they have been cleared, much as today with Xbox 360. While the console itself is not geographically restricted, a user's Xbox Live account, content, apps and experiences are all tied to the country of billing and residence."
The list of 21 countries, reproduced in full below, isn't final - Microsoft will continue to add new regions as part of a the Xbox One roll-out. Inquiries with various local Microsoft offices have indicated that missing European countries will start appearing during 2014.
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States