"Are they trying to taunt us? Every other commercial on TV these days seems to be for some Xbox 360 video game. At local electronics retail stores, displays for the new Xbox are taking up premium front-and-center floor space, complete with kiosks offering a hands-on look at the product. There's only one problem -- nobody has the thing in stock.
Many local big-box stores say they haven't gotten any new consoles since the product's Nov. 22 launch, and some have gotten just one or two. The Target in Germantown got four units Monday night and sold them almost immediately. As of yesterday afternoon, Web stores Amazon.com, ToysRUs.com, EBGames.com, CircuitCity.com and WalMart.com were all sold out, with no indication of when the new game console would be available again.
Microsoft won't pin the shortage on any one part or manufacturer, so game fans and Wall Street analysts don't really know if this is planned hype or a major screw-up or what. This is what is known: The company shipped 300,000 to 400,000 units Nov. 22 -- and after that, very few. The company says more are coming, but nobody knows for sure.
With hot items such as new Apple iPods or game consoles, the hunt for scarce products has become part of tradition. So ingrained is it that when a new Sony handheld game gadget didn't instantly sell out or spark riots in electronics stores this past spring, some pundits took it as a sign that the company was taking a step in the wrong direction.
No such problem for the Xbox 360. Over on Craigslist and eBay, opportunists are auctioning off the $400 device for $800 or more. College student Chris Lambert built an easy-reference tool for savvy Web surfers by combining leaked Best Buy supply information with a mapping program from Google. Enter your Zip code, and the site pulls up a map showing Best Buys in the area and their alleged Xbox 360 inventory. His site also has a service that automatically pings online stores every few minutes to see if the device is in stock." [more