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December 2, 2005

Xbox 360 Launches in Europe

Posted by David Hunter at 10:01 AM ET.

Yes, the Xbox 360 launched in Europe today – Xbox 360 sells out within hours:

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.

France and elsewhere:

In Paris, the FNAC Champs Elysées put up for sale 360 [presumably Xbox 360 - ed.] consoles for people who had not made advanced reservations, starting at midnight. More than 300 people waited in line on the busy Paris boulevard, some as long as five hours in near sub-zero temperatures, according to French press reports.

“Across Europe it was pretty much the same, with hundreds and hundreds of stores opening at midnight and people queuing up for hours on end,” said Microsoft’s European Xbox spokesperson Stephen McGill.

And there was drama as well:

Dundee retailer [Game] is not opening its store at midnight tonight for the launch of the much-anticipated Xbox 360 games console because of fears that desperate gamers will resort to “any means necessary” to get their hands on the sold-out machine.

Manager Richard Meade said, “In America there were reports of lootings because there is a worldwide shortage of the unit. After discussions between head office and Microsoft, we have decided we are not opening at midnight because of the security risk.

“Not opening at midnight is not a criticism of Tayside Police, who have been good to us in the past, and have patrolled the area when we’ve had midnight openings. But because of the value and the scarcity of these machines we have decided not to take the chance this time.

“We have never seen demand for any console or game like this before.”

Not to mention humor – Microsoft Loves us, Europe! They really do!

Despite only sending one Xbox 360 to the UK to share between all one hundred squillion gamers that want one for Christmas (this might be an exaggeration), Peter Moore has been regailing us Europeans with kindly words, assuring us of Microsoft’s commitment to the territory.

Speaking to those lovable rogues (this might also be an exaggeration) over at OXM.co.uk during the Origen Xbox 360 desert hoe-down, Moore explained that traditionally during a console’s launch “it’s usually the home territory of the console first, with other territories following. Since Europe has no home territory console it always seems to end up getting everything last. As I like to say, Europe always gets shafted.”

However, Moore insisted that “With Xbox 360 we’re doing things differently…”

Aside from the supply shortage, there was also some grumpiness about Xbox.com not being updated:

Yep, someone over at Microsoft needs to wake up and push the button so we can hook our Xbox 360s up to our Media networks… Yes, yes, we know you can just head to the US version of the site and grab the file from there, but that’s not the point. Microsoft have managed to ship the hardware all over the world so we don’t have to wait for it but the software, which travels at the speed of light over the interweb is yet to arrive!

Lastly, Alfred Hermida at the BBC takes a look at the games. Bottom line:

* PERFECT DARK ZERO – “This is likely to keep gamers coming back to what is one of the best first-person shooters available for any console.”

* PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 3 – “Out of all the Xbox 360 launch titles, it is the one that showcases the potential of Microsoft’s new console.”

* KAMEO: ELEMENTS OF POWER – “However, not even all the colours of the rainbow in the most dazzling shades can make up for the lack of magical appeal at the heart of Kameo.”



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