Things could get ugly.
Analysts are like journalists, just paid more to write less and speak in greater generalities. So when they actually get something right it is not only rare, but also kinda depressing; especially when the forecast in question was depressing in the first place. There’s going to less than 300,000 Xbox 360s in Europe for launch day.
Microsoft’s European VP of Home Entertainment Chris Lewis has backed the figure, calling it ‘not far removed from reality’ and admitted it is highly likely units will be gone long before shops close for business on the 2 December.
This is not new territory. Microsoft ran into similar problems when the 360 was released stateside last week and led to some ugly scenes amongst frustrated consumers, including one incident where a teenager was assaulted and robbed whilst carrying his next gen console home. In fact, so hysterical have gaming aficionados become over the machine that eBay bidding in the US has seen machines sell for more than $1,000, with pre-order vouchers going for nearly triple that a few months back. The fever is catching here too, with we Brits prepared to shell out more than £450 for our own vouchers. Ironic, given that many US reviewers have remarked there are no standout titles available for the console yet anyway.
So stand firm people and be brave. Queue in an orderly fashion, converse politely about tea and cricket while you wait and – whatever you do – don’t think about Microsoft’s estimates that over 3m units will be snapped up in the next three months. They were probably made by an overpaid, under worked analyst throwing random figures in the air during one of his exorbitant lunch breaks. After all, lightening doesn’t strike twice… ”does it?”