For all the clamor from Microsoft about the Xbox 360 being the biggest thing in home entertainment since the TV dinner, the company sure is being quiet about when the public can get some hands-on time with the machine. In the past few days, Wal-Marts across the country were prominently displaying demonstration kiosks for the console, supposedly with playable samples of Call of Duty 2 and King Kong.
Today GameStop followed suit with its own kiosks for the concave console. According to one GameStop employee, a company e-mail sent out to the near 2,000 stores stated that Xbox 360 stations would begin appearing at the outlets starting today, with the goal being that each store have a station within a month. Consistent with reports, GameSpot was told that playable demos of Call of Duty 2 and Peter Jackson's King Kong would be included.
It's unclear at the time whether this will also include EB Games stores, which were recently acquired by GameStop in a merger. "At this time, we are not informed of what happens with EB's stores," said the GameStop employee.
Though the likelihood of Xbox 360 demo stations coming to game retailers seems inevitable, nothing has been made official. As of press time, Microsoft had not answered requests for confirmation. However, back in April, Microsoft announced a partnership with Samsung to provide 25,000 high-definition monitors in Xbox 360 displays around the world.
"Sold out" seems to be one of the better phrases to describe the Xbox 360 this holiday season. Preorders for the console have become difficult to come by, and analysts have trimmed down the number of units they believe will be available on November 22 (one has a dire figure of 300,000 to 350,000 in the US). Should each Wal-Mart, GameStop, EB Games, Best Buy, and every other viable candidate get an Xbox 360 kiosk (and provided the machines in the kiosk are the real deal), it's possible that more than 10,000 gamers in the US may be left empty-handed while shoppers paw at a perfectly good machine.