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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 11:27 GMT
Shortages spoil Xbox 360 launch
Gamers queueing for an Xbox 360, AP
Despite queueing many gamers went home empty-handed
Widespread shortages of the Xbox 360 have left US gamers frustrated.

Many American electronics stores sold out of the coveted console on the first day it went on sale and many who queued overnight were left empty handed.

Shortages were made worse as many gamers did not want to settle for the lower-priced version of the gadget that lacks a hard drive.

Some enterprising Xbox 360 owners cashed in on the scarcity by instantly re-selling their console on eBay.

Empty shelves

Microsoft's next generation console officially went on sale at midnight on 22 November but many who queued to make sure of grabbing the gadget did not manage to buy one. Some stores were reportedly allocated less than 50 consoles.

The websites of Amazon, Circuit City, Best Buy and Wal-Mart all listed the console as sold out.

Microsoft is selling the Xbox 360 in two bundles but few gamers seemed happy to settle for the cheaper version of the unit that does not have a 20 GB hard drive.

The hard drive or a memory unit is needed for players who want to use the console to play games for the original Xbox or who want to save their progress on new games.

"Hard-core gamers would pay up for a premium system and do not want to feel limited to a shaved down system," said David Hornak who was offered only the lower-priced machine at Best Buy in New York.

Gamers playing original Xbox while they wait, AP
Some passed the time by gaming while they waited
Up to half of all the machines allocated to electronics stores were the cheaper bundle which only helped to worsen the supply problems.

Analysts expect the sell-outs to continue for days and some did not expect the supply problems to ease until well into December. The situation is likely to be repeated when the 360 goes on sale in Europe on 2 December and Japan on 10 December.

"We are well aware that many gamers are disappointed to have not gotten their Xbox 360 on day one," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, in a statement.

He added: "We are working around the clock to manufacture as many Xbox 360s as we can and are replenishing our retail channel week after week."

Microsoft is hoping to sell three million Xbox 360s in the first 90 days that the console is on sale.

Ebay reported that 1,800 Xbox 360s had been re-sold via the auction site in the first 12 hours after the console was launched - many for a significant mark-up on the original price.

In a statement eBay said that the average price of the consoles was $660 (385). By comparison the full Xbox 360 bundle is selling in stores for $399.99.

Some packages of the console which came with a selection of games were selling for prices as high as $2,500 said Ebay.

Microsoft's launch of the Xbox 360 now is widely seen as a gamble because although it means the console is on sale in the important Christmas season it has to hope that frustration does not turn to anger and translate into lost sales.




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