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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 13:30 GMT
Xbox 360 sells out within hours
Gamers in London
More than 200 queued in Oxford Street ahead of the midnight launch
The Xbox 360 has virtually sold out in the UK as gamers rushed to snap up Microsoft's next generation games console, say retailers.

Dedicated fans queued overnight or in the early hours of the morning in the light of limited stocks.

Hundreds of Xbox 360s have appeared on the online auction site eBay, selling for more than double the retail price.

The limited stock has led retailers and gamers to criticise Microsoft for not supplying enough machines.

Midnight wait

In the UK, more than 200 gamers have queued for hours in the rain for the midnight launch of the console at Game's flagship store in London's Oxford Street

XBOX 360 SPECS
Gamers playing the Xbox 360 in London
Three IBM PowerPC-based 3.2 GHz cores
One teraflop overall system floating-point performance
ATI graphics chip with 10MB of embedded DRAM
512MB of 700MHz GDDR3 RAM memory
Detachable 20GB hard drive
Built-in Ethernet port
Games supported at 16:9, 720p and 1080i, anti-aliasing
Streams media from portable music devices, digital cameras and Windows XP PCs
Supports up to four wireless controllers

The first to lay his hands on the 360 was Kevin Sage, 33, of Sydenham, south London, who had waited outside the store since 1445 GMT.

"We have been waiting in this queue for hours and hours and now I can't wait to get home and play this game," he said.

"I've made so many new friends through this, it's a surreal experience and I will remember this for the rest of my life."

Elsewhere, hardcore gamers got up early on Friday to try to find the Xbox 360.

While some struck lucky, many others were left disappointed.

"Thought I'd wake up at 5am then sneak down to Toys 'R' Us in Nottingham. Got there at 5:50am. No joy though, over 20 queuing up!" wrote one gamer in a posting to a forum on the Xbox Scene fan site.

"I went to Telford Curry's this morning, 7:20am. I was 5th in the queue. Opened at 8am only to announce they had four. Four! Gutted," said John Sutherland from Telford in another posting.

Lucrative bidding

Most retailers say they have sold out of all their stock.

"It is unlikely that we will have any fresh product for a couple of weeks. Hopefully we will have some in store before Christmas that people can buy," said a HMV spokesperson.

The Xbox 360 launch has gone fairly smoothly. The biggest fly in the ointment is that there aren't enough units
Paul Jackson, Forrester Research

For Asda, non-food director Tony Page said: "As predicted, we counted them in and counted them out quick as a flash. Someone at Microsoft seriously needs their ears Xboxing for failing to give us enough to go round."

Some have started cashing in on the frenzied demand for the 360.

A search by the BBC News website on online auction site eBay late on Friday found more than 2,000 consoles, with most going for around 600.

Microsoft has tried to reassure fans, saying that more Xbox 360s would arrive in the UK next week.

Though with the launch in Japan looming on 10 December, and pressure on Microsoft to replenish US stories, supplies to the UK may be limited.

Resentful fans

"The Xbox 360 launch has gone fairly smoothly," said Forrester Research analyst Paul Jackson. "The biggest fly in the ointment is that there aren't enough units.

"This is potentially damaging for Microsoft in the short-term, particularly within the hardcore gaming community," he told the BBC News website.

Xbox 360 supplies
Microsoft has said more consoles should arrive next week
"People who trusted Amazon or Game with a pre-order are resentful. Half of that is directed at the retailer, but a lot of that is passed on to Microsoft."

The Xbox 360 is one of the most eagerly-awaited consumer electronics debuts of the year.

The console, which went on sale across Europe on Friday, marks the start of a new era in the history of video games.

It was released in the US on 22 November and hits Japan on 10 December.

The worldwide release gives Microsoft an early start in the race to dominate an industry worth $25bn globally.

Sony and Nintendo are working on new consoles but they are not expected to be out until sometime next year.

Video games are hugely popular in the UK. More than 40% of British household, accounting for 11 million homes, own at least one games console, according to Jupiter Research.

The Xbox 360 costs 209.99 or 279.99 including a package of accessories.




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