December 2 is the European launch for Xbox 360 and all indications are that there will be a level of hysteria similar to the North American launch on Nov. 22. Well, if not hysteria, then at least desire – Chris Noon at Forbes:
This Friday marks the arrival of 300,000 Microsoft Xbox 360s in stores across Europe. A fallacious statement if ever there was one; most of the platforms will be unloaded from trucks straight into gamers’ hands–those that were shrewd enough, nay, rich enough, to pre-order.
Microsoft’s regional vice-president, Chris Lewis, augurs the next-generation console will be sold out from word go. So Forbes did a spot of investigating itself. First stop, Richard Branson’s Virgin Megastore chain, Piccadilly Circus. “We’ve had plenty of advance orders, but there should be a few in store come Friday,” the assistant told us. And will there be folks camping down for a night on London’s freezing pavements? “We doubt that,” sniggered the assistant. Undeterred and unconvinced, Forbes slogged up Oxford Street through the Siberian chill–they call it “brass monkey weather” in these parts for some reason–to Branson’s flagship emporium on Oxford Street.
No dice, we’re afraid. “We won’t have any in store on Friday, pre-orders only,” the assistant told us. And how many did you preorder, Forbes asked, hoping to linger in the warmth a few seconds longer. “Eighty plus,” replied said assistant. So there’s no point pitching a tent outside? “None at all,” came the reply, adding that the earliest European troglodytes could expect their fix was sometime in January or February.
Meanwhile back in N. America, Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson), the Xbox Live Director of Programming, was doing his best to quell some of the rumors in a blog post titled “Replenishments, Recall Rumors, and Replacements.” Excerpt:
In the Xbox forums and in my comments I am seeing (incorrect) theories that we are holding back inventory to keep the price inflated/keep hype going. We have shipped every console we’ve made, and we’re making more as fast as we can. The reality is that there is significantly more demand than supply, and will be for some time.
Veruca Salt is also mentioned.
Update: The Xbox Team Blog links to a report that Britain’s ASDA chain (subsidiary of Wal-Mart) has queues and is offering them “seating, drinks and mince pies.” Other stores are expecting queues except for those that are “pre-order” only.