GAMERS here will have to wait for an extra year to get their hands on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One gaming console.

The company revealed this at the start of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles yesterday when it said that its next-generation console, which comes with voice controls and motion detection features, will be launched in only 21 markets this November, including the United States, Australia and Britain. No Asian country is on the initial list.

A Microsoft spokesman said that select Asian countries, including Singapore, will get their gaming fix late next year, one year after the US$499 (S$625) console launches in the West.

The delay, combined with the limitation in playing used games and the requirement that gamers connect to the Internet every 24 hours, did not sit well with many who are deciding whether to go for the Xbox One or the Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) – both of which will launch first in Western markets in November.

Software engineer Leong Jun Hao, 34, said: “I would not wait more than a year for the Xbox One. The PlayStation 4 is not region-locked, so even if Sony does not launch it here early, I can buy an import set and start playing the new games much earlier.”

It also does not help Microsoft that the Sony PS4 costs US$100 less at US$399, although PS4 gamers who want to play motion control games need to fork out an extra US$59 for the camera.

The Straits Times understands there is a strong chance that the PS4 could go on sale here by the year end.

Sony told The Straits Times it will be opening a sales and marketing office in Singapore by next month to handle the PlayStation brand of consoles and games for the South-east Asian market, including Japan.

Traditionally, Sony has regarded Japan as a separate market in Asia and all its previous consoles were first launched at home in Japan. This time, Sony has yet to reveal launch details for Japan.

The current Xbox 360 will be eight years old by the end of the year, and delaying a local launch could affect year-end sales, said Ms Loo Pei Fen, group director of strategy and marketing at IT retailer Challenger.

“Obviously, we were looking forward to it launching at the critical holiday season… Not having this console means we have to work a lot harder to get consumers interested in the Xbox 360.”

Mr Soon Qishan, owner of local game retail store Qisahn.com, said: “If gamers have to import the next-generation consoles, the PS4 will probably be the preferred console. It’s cheaper and does not come with limitations that are unheard of prior to this generation of game consoles.”

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on June 12, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.