Microsoft’s Xbox One games console is to launch in Ireland on 22 November, exactly one week before Sony’s competing device arrives on shelves.

Thirteen countries are included in the company’s initial launch phase, which is set to cost around €499 in Ireland.

The Xbox One is Microsoft’s third foray into the games market, though the company is keen to promote the device’s potential as a multi-media and communications tool.

Its announcement was poorly received at first, however, due to a number of restrictions placed on the use of games. Microsoft has since rowed back on many of those areas.

Others have reacted with unease to the always-on nature of the console’s Kinect accessory, which has a built-in camera and microphone to help it track a user’s movements and commands. However the Seattle tech giant says this feature can be disabled if customers wish to do so.

Microsoft’s machine faces stiff competition from Sony’s Playstation 4, which launches on the 29 November for €399.

Japan’s Nintendo launched its most recent console – the Wii U – nearly a year ago, though its sales have disappointed, especially when compared to the massive success of its motion-controlled Wii.