Microsoft delays new Xbox launch for 8 countries

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft said Wednesday it was delaying the launch of its new Xbox One console in eight countries, while moving ahead with a November release in 13 others.

In June, Microsoft said it would start selling the new videogame and entertainment console in 21 countries, but on Wednesday acknowledged their plan had been too ambitious.

The delays affect Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. The company said it hoped to launch the device in those countries "as soon as possible in 2014."

The 13 markets to get the Xbox One in November will be Australia, Austria, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United States and New Zealand, according to a statement from the Xbox team.

"At Xbox, our goal is to provide the best games and entertainment experience possible and the team continues to make great progress on delivering Xbox One," the statement said.

"While we wish we could launch Xbox One simultaneously in these (21) markets, there are many factors that determine the timing of specific market launches. This includes work to localize the Xbox One dash, incorporate additional voice and languages, and build partnerships to bring apps and meaningful local content to each country."

The beefed-up console is powered by software that allows for instant switching between games, television, and Internet browsing. Microsoft-owned Skype was also integrated for online group video calls.

Kinect motion and sound sensing accessories accompanying the consoles recognise users; respond instantly to commands spoken in natural language, and even detect a person's pulse.

Microsoft's new console will compete against Sony's new PlayStation 4, which also promises to combine its film, music, television and games in a home entertainment box. It is due to be released later this year as well.