Xbox 360 lands across the pond

Long lines, low supplies, outrageous eBay prices... Microsoft's European launch mirrors North American release.


Microsoft's Xbox 360 launched across Europe today, and early reports are echoing those of the system's American launch last week. According to an article in The Times Online, limited supplies of the system sold out within minutes of the 12 a.m. launch.

Earlier this week, a Microsoft exec confirmed that projections of 300,000 units available at launch weren't far off. As disappointing as the lack of 360 systems was for gamers who didn't get their hands on one of the launch units, it seems retailers were perhaps even more agitated by the situation.

"Our gripe is that they have seriously underestimated demand and haven't produced enough to go round," Asda Supermarkets nonfood director Tony Page was quoted as saying in the article. Meanwhile, a spokesman from DSG International, the company that owns Brit retailers Currys, Dixons, and PC World, said a few of the core systems actually made it onto store shelves, but they were "rarer than hen's teeth."

And much like the American launch, online auctions for the console are fetching drastically higher than retail prices on eBay. Prices on premium systems, which retail for 279 pounds ($483) in the UK and 399 euros ($467) elsewhere in Europe went as high as 820 pounds ($1,421). Core systems, which retail for 209 pounds ($362) or 299 euros ($350) were pulling in as much as 471 pounds ($816).

Microsoft is no doubt hoping for a trifecta of frenzied 360 launches when the company completes its worldwide rollout of the console by releasing it in Japan December 10. That may prove difficult, as the system has seen two of its most anticipated Japanese launch titles, Dead or Alive 4 and Enchant Arm, suffer delays in the last month.

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