Xbox 360 is still gaming’s Holy Grail

Before Christmas you couldn’t get your hands on an Xbox 360 for love nor money. Desperation glinted in the eye of every serious gamer who had failed i

Before Christmas you couldn’t get your hands on an Xbox 360 for love nor money. Desperation glinted in the eye of every serious gamer who had failed in their mission to obtain what has become the holy grail of game consoles.

At CES this month Microsoft announced that it had hired a new factory to increase production, but it doesn’t look set to be an overnight turnaround.  Today we did the rounds to discover what’s happening on shopping’s front line.

If you check out the Comet website you can get an Xbox 360 bundle for £310. We gave them a call and they said that, although there are no 360s in London stores at the moment, there were about 160 in the area warehouse which could be ordered from the website or over the phone and be delivered within 5 days.

An improvement on pre-Xmas, then. But the truth is shops are receiving batches of Xboxes in the hundreds, when they need thousands. So you might be lucky and get one of the 160, but once they come to an end you may be in for a wait.

HMV is still seeing off the remainder of unlucky customers from before Christmas and new customers are put on a waiting list. The Xboxes are coming in but it’s more of a trickle than the much-needed torrent.

Woolies had much the same story - demand is outstripping supply and although the boxes are coming in, shops have to hound Microsoft for more.

A Microsoft spokesperson said that demand for the Xbox had been incredible and that the company is working around the clock to meet demand, replenishing stock on a weekly basis. The fact is they are coming in – it’s not hopeless, you just have to be a bit determined. It’s a difficult one for the retailers. They can’t push software and titles if they can’t sell people the hardware in the first place. And, boy, do they want to sell.

Expect matters to settle down by spring.