Microsoft's Xbox One preorder information page states that the console will only support Live in only 21 countries at launch, and therefore presumably won't work anywhere else.
If you were planning on preordering an Xbox One console, you'd be well advised to do yourself a favor and make sure you live in one of these 21 nations:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Why? Because it is in those nations, and those nations only (unless Microsoft changes its mind between now and then) that the Xbox One will be supported through Xbox Live at launch. And since the Xbox One requires online game activation and a daily connection to the central scrutinizer, which I assume must take place via Xbox Live, the unavoidable conclusion is that the console just won't work outside of those countries.
It seems fairly straightforward and yet it's so hard to believe that I can't help thinking that I must be misinterpreting the situation somehow. After all, we're not talking about a lack of support in, say, Equitorial Guinea or the Pitcairn Islands; the list omits nations like Portugal, Japan, Ukraine, Greece and Poland, ironically the homeland of Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt. These are potentially huge chunks of the international market that Microsoft appears to be willfully and completely bypassing.
It's possible that a stopgap plan will be put into place to enable the system's functionality in non-Live regions, although no mention of such a thing is made on the site. It does warn, however, that "Xbox One games are for activation and distribution only in specified geographic regions."