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Crowds await Xbox One midnight launch in cold London

Gaming enthusiasts have flocked to central London for the launch of the hotly-anticipated Xbox One.

Gaming enthusiasts got a taste of the new console.

With the launch of Sony's PS4 next week, Microsoft has a head start on its rival in the run-up to Christmas for its all-in-one entertainment device.

The Xbox One - which goes on sale at midnight - costs £429.99

Crowds await the midnight launch.

London's Leicester Square was transformed into a fantasy world overrun by zombies from and a Roman legion from Xbox games.

Leicester Square was transformed into fantasy land.

Xbox One launch date is November 22

The Xbox One games console will launch on November 22, Microsoft has announced

Microsoft's first new gaming console in eight years will initially go on sale 13 countries, Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of marketing, strategy and business for the Xbox, said.

The Xbox One Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

One week after the launch of rival Sony's Playstation 4 US launch, Xbox One will be on the shelves in the UK, US, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain and New Zealand.

The PS4 launches on November 29 in Europe.

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What the tech writers like about Xbox One

Engadget's Darren Murph praised the Xbox One's "retro" aesthetics and Blu-ray capability but criticised the console's inability to play games from earlier models.

"Microsoft's next-generation console is quite an ambitious product, promising to unifying absolutely everything you do in the living room," wrote Hunter Skipworth for pocket-lint.com.

Gizmodo's Kyle Wagner was impressed by the voice-activated channel and input switching.

"This will work via a HDMI pass-through, so this won’t replace your set-top box — rather, it reduces the number of controllers you have to use, and the input switching you have to do on your TV," he wrote.

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