First comes this article from Computer and Video Games which cites “reports emanating from US retailers… that the demand for Microsoft’s next-gen machine has been so great that a huge number of customers have pre-ordered their Xbox 360s – possibly resulting in empty store shelves when the console actually launches in November.” The retailers cited are EB Games and Gamestop, although it’s not clear what kind of reports these are and whether they come from the corporate or retail sides of the giants. Details, details.
CVG is careful to note their information “remain[s] speculation” and they use phrases like “suggest,” “it seems,” and “possibly” to qualify their remarks, but the message is clear: “OMG RESERVE YOUR XBOX 360 NOW THERE WILL BE LIKE NONE LEFT WHEN IT COMES OUT! THE GUY AT THE GAME STORE TOLD ME SO!”
CVG also makes the odd analysis that “the news will cause distress for Microsoft, which was hit by severe Xbox stock shortages in the run-up to last Christmas.” I suppose not being able to satisfy demand isn’t a great thing, but hype-intensified shortages aren’t something to be distressed about, as they usually turn into media feeding frenzies that help drive more sales once production increases (see: Nintendo 64, Tickle Me Elmo, iPod Mini, just to name a few).
Anyway, the really interesting part of this comes via the always entertaining Spong, which rather skeptically points out that they think it’s “unlikely that either of the mentioned retailers will be openly discussing its expected, stock-driven performance on any product line, let alone a new hardware platform and its bountiful software and peripheral attach rates.” Translation: “YOU’RE A BIG LIAR THOSE GAME STORE GUYS DIDN’T TELL YOU ANYTHING!”
But they don’t stop there. In sourcing their story, Spong points to “an ailing UK magazine cum gossip mongering website.” Spong refuses to name the magazine, but references in the article make it pretty clear that CVG is the object of their scorn. This is pretty funny coming from Spong, which hasn’t had a great track record of rumor-mongering in the past. But why miss out on a chance to bust on a competitor, right?
On a slightly related note, a little digging found this old gem from CVG where they cite “ever scoop-mungous UK trade mag MCV” as the source for a story on a deluge of Xbox 360s by Christmastime.
MCV certainly enjoys a number of well placed industry sources and they quote a senior, though unnamed source, at a major US publisher as saying that a million Xbox Xenons will hit Europe around November, rapidly rising to over 1.5 million units by March 2006.
You can almost hear the scornful envy in that first clause, can’t you?
Let the back-biting continue.