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The Xbox One finally gets a launch date

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After remaining tight-lipped in the months after its (somewhat contentious) presentation E3, Microsoft has finally revealed a release date for the Xbox One. And, as expected the console will be ready for gifting this holiday season, as it hits shelves globally in 13 countries on November 22.

Xbox marketing executive Yusuf Mehdi confirmed the date after IGN reported that a number of U.K. retailers had announced on Twitter that the console would be on shelves. The worldwide release puts Microsoft at a disadvantage in the North American market and at an advantage everywhere else, as Sony announced during Gamescom that the PS4 would be available on November 15 in the states but international fans will have to wait until November 29.

Microsoft’s gaming division has struggled in the months since it unveiled Xbox One in May, losing its head Don Mattrick while fending off gamer outrage over unpopular policies. But the company has quelled strong emotions over time, with an especially strong showing (though without a keynote) at Gamescom, thanks to announcing a free copy of blockbuster soccer game FIFA 14 with every preorder and providing strong demos of exclusive games such as Ryse and Titanfall. Microsoft has been working hard to win over gamers, and now it has the opportunity to shift momentum into hype for the console’s release.

As Microsoft and Sony spar over which console will reign supreme this holiday season, there are still many more obstacles to cross before a winner can be declared. Most importantly, it’ll come down to the popularity of the launch titles for each console, and the impact of impressive hands-on previews.

But no matter who wins, families with a tradition of Black Friday shopping should brace themselves, because it’s bound to be crazy.

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