Though Microsoft did not stream its Xbox One conference from this year's Gamescom, the company did have plenty of announcements to share about its upcoming next-generation console. Perhaps the biggest announcement made during the presentation was the confirmation of yesterday's rumors - FIFA 14 will come bundled with Xbox One pre-orders in Europe.
Microsoft's official statement says that all pre-ordered Xbox One Day One Edition consoles in Europe will come with a digital version of FIFA 14 packed-in. Xbox Live Director of Programming Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb made things a bit less clear by tweeting that all pre-orders (not just Day One Editions?) of the Xbox One will come with FIFA 14, though he did qualify that by adding "while stock lasts."
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) August 20, 2013
Though the FIFA 14 pre-order offer undoubtedly increases the value of an Xbox One in Europe, the announcement has raised some questions of its own. The first is how many (or how few) pre-order numbers Microsoft must be seeing in Europe to pay EA millions for what is at least hundreds of thousands of FIFA 14 copies. Another is whether FIFA 14 will be the free game promised to the 8 European countries that recently had their Xbox One launches pushed back to next year. A final question is whether this will be enough to entice Europeans, who have heavy brand loyalty to PlayStation, to jump onto Microsoft's next generation platform - especially when an Xbox One with FIFA 14 packed-in is still more expensive that buying a PlayStation 4 and FIFA 14 separately.
One thing that's clear is that Microsoft views sports gaming as a front in the coming console war. A version of the Xbox 360 bundled with a copy of FIFA 14 was also announced. Microsoft has also obtained exclusive "legendary footballers" for the Xbox One version of FIFA 14.