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October 18, 2005

Time for an Xbox 360 conspiracy theory!

Posted by David Hunter at 7:06 PM ET.

There have been a number of stories about Xbox 360 shortages lately, including this one from Rick Aristotle Munarriz at The Motley FoolHands Off My 360, Buddy:

You know you’ve got a smash holiday hit on your hands when it’s only October and Amazon.com has already stopped taking orders. That’s the seemingly enviable position that the Xbox 360, the next-generation gaming device from Microsoft, finds itself in at the moment.

[Wal-Mart and GameStop examples elided]

To be fair, many retailers aren’t even bothering with the preorders. They will just deal with diehard gamers — or their desperate parents — lining up outside their stores on the morning of Nov. 22 and dispense the 360s accordingly.

I had no problem securing a Sony PSP the day it came out back in March, but the hype behind the Xbox 360 and the staged rollout that is just three days from the start of the holiday shopping season is going to make this one a tough box to nab.

Delays are always possible, but there’s a good chance that this is Microsoft’s one shining moment to build an established base over the holidays before Sony and Nintendo storm the market.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time a holiday item was in short supply, but there’s another theory from Seth Jason also at The Motley FoolAn Xbox Conspiracy?

After a title like that you’re probably hoping for some real dirt. Alas, I’m going to give you only rank speculation. My own rank speculation. Take it for just that. (And note, it’s not the first time I’ve indulged. In fact, the last time was a year ago to the day. Spooky.)

To begin, today, my colleague Rick Munarriz took one of his always interesting and entertaining peeks at a consumer-culture phenomenon that could be good news, or bad news, for dear old Microsoft. According to increasing reports, the next generation Xbox 360 is already in short supply. Yup, before it even hits the streets.

Maybe I shouldn’t have had the double jalapeno pizza for dinner, but after an entire night of thought, here’s my unsubstantiated conspiracy theory: Mr. Softy is sandbagging.

You heard me. Mr. Softy is behind the demand curve precisely so that people will notice, the buzz will start, and the press will amplify the story, and therefore the demand.

Further elaboration by following the link.

Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I’m too busy to pay much attention as I’m over at http://www.hex168.com/ trying to figure out the clues to win one of the few remaining Xbox 360′s. (Explanation here.)



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