S$639 for the Xbox One isn't exactly affordable

Microsoft explains the rationale behind the costing, which is around S$100 more compared to its US and Hong Kong pricing
S$639 for the Xbox One isn't exactly affordable

The wait is over. Microsoft's Xbox One launches islandwide on September 23 from S$639 without Kinect. 

Disappointingly, that's the same price as the PS4 (read our review here), and we can't help feeling that Microsoft has missed an opportunity to regain the upper hand after ceding Sony a 7-month head start. Additionally, if it's a complete Xbox experience you're after, the Kinect bundle will cost just S$100 more.

Read more: Microsoft Xbox One vs Sony PS4: in depth

Why is it so expensive?

S$639 for the Xbox One isn't exactly affordable

With the Xbox One retailing at just US$399 (S$500) without Kinect in the USA, the console is much more expensive locally than it is to order it online off retailers such as Amazon. Add that to the fact that it costs only HK$3380 (S$545) in Hong Kong, and we essentially have the same pricing issues as the PS4. 

In a group interview at E3 with Alan Bowman, Microsoft's Regional Vice President, Retail Sales and Marketing for the greater Asia region, he explained to Stuff that this discrepancy was due to added charges such as local licensing, channel costs, and taxes. Tough luck for us, we suppose. 

He also added that Microsoft was confident they were still in a position to compete, given the strength of their game selection come September. From what we saw at the E3 press conference, we think he may be on to something there, with the likes of Forza Horizon 2 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection amidst the launch lineup.

In the box

S$639 for the Xbox One isn't exactly affordable

Each purchase of the Xbox One will net you the standard fare of a console with 500GB hard drive, one Xbox One Wireless Controller, and a free 14-day trial of Xbox Live gold.

Local Xbox One features will include a fully localised dash, Game DVR/Upload to record your gaming moments, and HDMI pass through for your TV. Microsoft has also just rolled out Gold Rush, a program that allows Xbox Live Gold subscribers to win actual gold (as in the precious metal), and a Collector's Edition Titanfall pack. 

Users who subscribe to a 12-month plan before 30 June will also receive $100 of free stuff including a free copy of Ryse: Son of Rome, and Killer Instinct Ultra Edition addons. You'll also be able to enjoy Xbox Fitness for free untill the end of the year, so you'll have around 3 months to get in shape.