Update: Microsoft director of marketing Albert Penello has explained that the Xbox One delay was due to implementing voice support for various languages into the dashboard.
When a NeoGAF user postulated that Microsoft was discouraging importing because it wanted to make sure there were enough copies left for those in supported territories, Penello responded, "launch volumes are not really an issue. This was simply a software issue in terms of getting local language and voice support in the dash. It's pretty straightforward, but disappointing I know for people who are missing launch."
"Obviously, I support people waiting for the official supported launch in the affected markets for the best experience," he added.
He also noted that all games are "worldwide signed" i.e. region-free, unlike Xbox 360 titles, and "the console will work everywhere (keeping in mind power supplies)."
"You can use one of the 13 digital marketplaces corresponding to our launch markets, assuming you have a valid payment instrument for those countries. Lots of people in Europe specifically travel, move, and visit family," he continued before slyly adding "Now, of course, if you were using Pre-Paid cards..."
Despite all these worldwide benefits, Penello noted that music and videos can be geo-restricted due to licensing issues. "e.g. Netflix works only in supported countries)."
Original Story: Yesterday Microsoft made the disappointing announcement that the Xbox One would be delayed in eight countries. Given that the console is region-free and no longer requires an internet connection, this would suggest that it could be imported from neighboring countries. We've asked Microsoft about this and it explained that while the platform and all of its games are region-free, it will still require online payments in a supported type of currency.
"When the console launches this November, we will support Xbox One in 13 markets. Xbox One may be used in all countries, including the non-launched markets. In addition, Xbox One games are not region locked. Any Xbox One game purchased at retail can be used in any country on any Xbox One," said Microsoft in a statement.
"That said, there needs to be a valid payment method corresponding to a supported launch country in order for any transactions to occur over Xbox Live, and some content may not be accessible outside launch markets due to geographic content restrictions imposed by content right holders."
It's not a perfect workaround then, but it's better than nothing. Even without convenient access to the Xbox Live marketplace, players in countries affected by the delay will still be able to enjoy disc-based retail games to tide them over until their currency is supported.