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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Some online sellers profit from Xbox 360 shortage

Some online sellers profit from Xbox 360 shortage

"I remember Christmas of 1998, when Hasbro's Tickle Me Elmo toy was hotter than July and every child, including my nephew who lives in the Bronx, wanted one.

My nephew's parents searched far and wide but couldn't find an Elmo. However, my wife and I were able to locate one of the toys - they contained a tiny device that would make Elmo laugh when he was 'tickled' - here in Elmira. We bought it and shipped it to their apartment in time for Christmas.

It seems that each year, there is at least one item that is heavily promoted during the pre-holiday shopping period but becomes a scarcity days after it hits retailers' shelves.

In Christmases past, the list included items like Cabbage Patch Kids, Beanie Babies and PlayStation 2. This year, the must-have item that is in short supply is Microsoft's Xbox 360.

Frustrated shoppers who can't find the new video game console accuse Microsoft of creating an Xbox 360 buzz by deliberately keeping a tight lid on supplies. Marketing experts say the tactic is effective for creating a must-have mystique about the machine and maximizing holiday sales, but Microsoft denies it has deliberately created shortages.

Two days before Thanksgiving, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant shipped 400,000 Xbox 360s to domestic retailers. Missed production deadlines and other factors prevented the company from shipping 1 million units, as originally planned. And as one might expect, the consoles didn't stay on the shelves very long.

To control the anticipated rush of shoppers, some stores - including EB Games in Consumer Square in Big Flats and Electronics Boutique in the Arnot Mall in Big Flats - required shoppers to put down a deposit to get one. Shoppers who did not get on the pre-sale list will likely have to wait until spring to get the game console." [more]

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