Japan snubs Xbox 360 launch

Japan has just added to Microsoft's woes by failing to contract Xbox 360 fever. On the first weekend of sales, less than half of the 159,000 availabl

Japan has just added to Microsoft's woes by failing to contract Xbox 360 fever.

On the first weekend of sales, less than half of the 159,000 available consoles were snapped up, according to an independent survey by Japanese gaming mag Enterbrain. The figure of about 62,000 units is also only half the number of original Xbox units that were flogged at its launch in 2002.

It's a particularly bad blow for Microsoft considering it pumped some considerable yen into promoting its new console in Japan, the second biggest gaming market behind the US.

The main stumbling block is that the motherland of tech is traditionally ruled by the pixellated iron fists of Sony and Nintendo. The postponed launch of flagship game Dead or Alive 4 also did little to persuade gamers to go and set up camp outside stores.

So, it looks like those wily Japanese folk are waiting for next year's real next-gen explosion with the launch of the PS3 and Nintendo Revolution, which has largely been the UK public's policy too (story here). Of course, not everyone has such monk-like reserves of patience, so what's the current UK stock situation? Not great, according to the major high street stores.

Basically, unless you're on a pre-order list already, you have no chance of getting one before Christmas. Even if you are, it's going to be tight. HMV told us that it's fufilled about half of its pre-orders and that it's hoping to receive one more major delivery before Santa kicks off his world tour.

PC World and Woolworths are both in the same boat, with the latter suggesting a 'close relationship' with your local store to see if any more pre-Christmas orders will be available. A spokesman added that 'hopefully, like the Sony PSP, the stock issues will clear up within 2 or 3 months'. Pop a note in your kids' Christmas stockings to that effect, and we're sure they'll understand.

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