360 demo kiosks now playing at Wal-Mart

[UPDATE] Megaretailer is first to give public a tease of Microsoft's next-generation console; not all stores spinning 360s yet.

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Hardcore fans on the quest to see the next piece of coveted hardware in the gaming industry may imagine a scenario that seems a bit like a game itself: After journeying away from the safety of their own town, they reach a giant edifice seemingly radiating raw power, and enter its giant doors. A grizzled old man gestures with his arm towards an enchanting box, and speaks the magical words, "Welcome."

Well, that's sort of the case, except the magical words muttered by the geriatric are "Welcome to Wal-Mart." Reports across the Web say that several Wal-Marts have received their Xbox 360 demonstration kiosks, some already in action, some in the process of being set up.

Don't expect to stroll into your local superstore and start blasting some next-gen Nazis just yet. GameSpot called several West Coast stores and hit pay dirt only once. Wal-Mart store #2549 in Spokane, Washington, was the only one of the dozen or so stores phoned that had an Xbox 360 kiosk. When asked what was playing on it, the clerk said that it was running a demo disc, which featured Call of Duty 2 and some other games. It's unclear if any of the games are actually playable.

Other stores didn't seem to be aptly filled in on their kiosk situation. One said they probably wouldn't get one until after November 22, one said all they had was a picture of the console, and others had no idea. The one store that did appear to know the deal was in Lynwood, Washington (near Microsoft's headquarters). The rep seemed particularly informed and told GameSpot, "We should be getting ours in the next couple of days or so."

Gaming blog Joystiq.com has a growing list of stores that readers claim have the kiosk, and there doesn't seem to be any pattern to the distribution. Both coasts and everything in between is represented, with stores in New Jersey, California, Minnesota, and Utah on the list.

[UPDATE] A manager for a Wal-Mart in Alabama has provided GameSpot with some more information regarding the kiosks. Apparently, most stores are simply waiting for a Microsoft representative to set up the stations in the stores. The disc the 360 is running contains videos of 10 games expected to make the console's launch, and it provides further info on the system. In addition, customers will be able to download content from the kiosk, provided they bring in a memory card...presumably one designed for the 360. The subject of said content remains unknown at this point.

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