Last night, I got off of work at 9:30, got home from the train an 10:30, and headed straight over to Wal-Mart, in order to purchase an XBox 360, which was supposed to go on sale at midnight. The first Wal-Mart I went to had only 14 units, and they had sold them all the previous day. According to the XBox launch rules, they were not supposed to do that — but then again, store managers do pretty much whatever they want. The second one had 12 units. The third had even less than that. At BestBuy, there was a crowd of about forty people, with 6 or 7 fully pitched tents camping outside the store. In the rain. In 40-degree weather. Which opens at 9:00am. My brother works at Toys-R-Us, and he wasn’t even able to reserve one.
Now, I have no problem with people getting there before me. But common, 12 units? You open a store for a special midnight launch event so that you can sell 12 units? At that rate, Wal-Mart isn’t even covering the cost of its employees. I can understand if Microsoft had not managed to produce enough XBox 360’s for launch day, but to ship 12 units to a major retail outlet — especially when the blame had been shifter to Wal-Mart for taking deliveries that were intended to pre-orders at EBGames and GameStop. With so few going to each store, is there anyway this wasn’t an artificial lack of supply?
While Microsoft claims that the 360 is “all about the gamer,” clearly this doesn’t extend past “all about the gamer handing over their money.” Well, why not? Why shouldn’t a multi-billion-dollar multinational corporation like Microsoft flex their monopoly-muscles? They’ve certainly done it before.