More reports, this time from US retailers, have been cropping up that talk of chronic shortages of Xbox 360 hardware during its launch period, slated for late November through early December 2005. GameStop and EB Games have reportedly warned that they may not be able to meet demand for the console sets on the run up to the machine's first holiday season on sale. Reportedly.
With production of the original Xbox believed to have ceased completely, Microsoft has stated that pre-production (component assembly and such) is ramping up for 360, though is yet to offer specifics on production run yields and estimated day one supplies. However, reports from Taiwan
confirm that manufacturers are readying for full production next month. Although key US retail chains will undoutedly have received ballpark allocation figures, SPOnG believes it unlikely that either of the mentioned retailers will be openly discussing its expected, stock-driven perfomance on any product line, let alone a new hardware platform and its bountiful software and peripheral attach rates.
So where are these stories coming from? The latest seemingly stems from an ailing UK magazine cum gossip mongering website, which offers no source for its report. It does carry Microsoft's stock response when asked about the reports, which reads, "Excitement for Xbox 360 is running high and we're working with our manufacturing partners to ensure we meet worldwide demand for Xbox 360 this Christmas."
SPOnG also suspects that these latest reports may well be fallout from comments made by Neil Thompson, head of Xbox in the UK, who told industry paper MCV, "I don't think we're going to meet demand as people are going to come into this platform in a big way..."
And of course, perhaps Microsoft is planning to 'Do a Sony', spinning diminished hardware supplies and disapointed consumers into a lifestyle product launch frenzy of queuing and mainstream headlines.
However the launch unfolds, it should be very interesting to watch.