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Report points to Xbox 360 shortage

Europeans scrap over just 300,000 boxes

Speculation abounds that only 300,000 Xbox 360s will be making their way to Europe for the launch of the console on 2 December.

In a weekend interview with German financial publication Euro am Sonntag, Chris Lewis, Microsoft's regional vice president (EMEA, Home and Entertainment Division) is quoted as saying that analyst predictions of 300,000 Xbox 360s being shipped to Europe on launch day "were not far removed from reality."

Lewis continued, saying that it's possible the Xbox 360 will sell out on launch day in much the same way as it did on the day of the US launch on 22 November, when all units were sold out within two hours of stores opening.

The majority of Irish retailers have been running pre-order campaigns for the next generation Xbox console over the past few months. A spokesperson for Microsoft Xbox in Ireland, told ElectricNews.Net that demand for the console in Ireland is huge and that at this stage retailers have probably stopped taking pre-orders in the run up to Christmas.

Unfortunately for those who have not pre-ordered, the Microsoft spokesperson said it would be "unlikely" that consumers would be able to get their hands on an new Xbox before January.

"What consumers who haven't pre-ordered should do is maybe check out the smaller retailers like Peats and Toymaster, who may not have been running pre-order campaigns and could have a few on the day," advised the spokesperson.

Microsoft Ireland will be replenishing its Xbox 360 stocks in the lead-up to Christmas, according to the spokesperson, who said that the company will be announcing another retailer who will be stocking the console over the coming weeks. Globally, Microsoft has said it aims to deliver up to three million units within three months of launch.

The launch of the Xbox 360 has been eagerly anticipated by gaming enthusiasts since it was unveiled to the world in May via a glitzy MTV special. The Xbox 360 is the first new non-handheld machine in four years from a major manufacturer. Sony and Nintendo are primed to launch their next-generation consoles - PlayStation 3 and Revolution - in the latter half of 2006.

Traditionally Irish gamers tend to favour Sony's PlayStation over the Xbox, but on a recent visit to Dublin, Steve Ballmer, CEO with Microsoft, told ElectricNews.Net that the firm was "feeling pretty good" about the Irish launch of the Xbox 360. Ballmer said at the time that Microsoft had around 28 percent of the Irish games console market, while Sony had around 50 percent share.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

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