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 Post subject: IT News: Xbox is the ultimate gift
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:50 am 
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By Robert Herrington | Noblesville Daily Times

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The Microsoft Xbox 360 will be available to the public in limited quantities Tuesday.

Friday may be the traditional “biggest shopping day of the year,” but if parents wait around until then expecting to get the new gaming system, Xbox 360, an upgrade of Microsoft's Xbox, they may have some sad children Christmas morning. The “IT” gift this year for gamers of all ages will be the 360.

“We're referring to the 360 as the new Tickle Me Elmo here,” EB Games sales associate Peter Fairchild said. “People are going to be foaming at the mouth to get one.”

Adding to the chaos is the drawback that the number of systems to be released has been cut up to a half by Microsoft, creating an even smaller supply for such a high demand.

According to 1up.com, research analyst Mike Wallace predicts only 1.5 million Xbox 360s will be shipped this calendar year, with less than a third of those (approximately 400,000) available in the United States on launch day.

Most major electronics stores in Hamilton County are unsure of the number of systems they will have on Tuesday. Some stores will have a midnight sale at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, while others will sell the system during normal business hours.

Stores are also limiting the number of systems, most places are allowing customers to only buy one system.

Circuit City in Clay Terrace, Wal-Mart in Noblesville and Best Buy stores in both Noblesville and Westfield are just some of the places left in the dark on how many systems they will have Tuesday. Circuit City estimates that they could have as little as 20 to as many as 50.

Fry's Electronics in Fishers will have a “first come, first serve” policy when they open the doors at 8 a.m. that morning. An associate in the electronics department said the store will allow a controlled entrance by letting patrons into the store in the order they are lined up outside to prevent chaos.


“I know some people who are staying all night as soon as the store closes until they open the next morning,” Fairchild said.

The Noblesville Blockbuster located at 738 Westfield Road says they will have between 5-8 systems come in and that they only took 10 preorders, so not all of them will receive a machine on the launch day. Noblesville's Meijer is expecting around eight systems.

EB Games in Fishers is not expecting to have any systems available for the public until next year, Fairchild said. The store started taking preorders over a year ago and had to stop a couple months back because the preorder numbers were getting too high. Those numbers will also effect when customers will receive their 360's, Fairchild believes that some on the preorder list may not get their system until next year. EB Games currently has 360 games and accessories, along with other gaming systems and games, and a 360 kiosk where parents and children can see and play the new unit.

“The graphics are outstanding,” Fairchild said. “It's going to be a great system.”

A Best Buy sales associate said their best advice for those who want a system would be to get to the store early, camp out and dress warm. “It's going to be nuts here,” the associate said.

For those who would rather sit at home in front of the nice fire and glowing computer screen, parents can find 360s online, but the cost may be more than their expecting.

As of Friday, 360's were available on ebay and drew bids between $600 to more than $1,000, depending on the system and if any were games included. One premium system with 11 games was going for $2,000.

Know more:

What is the difference between the two Xbox 360 systems?

The 360 will come as two units; a core system for $299 and a premium system for $399. The core unit will include the console, a wired controller and a composite AV cable. The premium unit will include the console with premium chrome finish, a 20-Gig hard drive, a wireless controller, Xbox Live headset, component HD AV cable and Ethernet cable.

Both will be able to play Xbox 360 games, watch DVD movies, play music CDs, connect to an MP3 player and listen to music, connect to a digital camera and view pictures and use up to four wireless controllers simultaneously.

Due to the hard drive, only the premium system will be able to play an array of original Xbox games and save games and content. Microsoft has announced that the 360 will be compatible with over 200 original games before the launch date with more to come in the months following.


What makes 360 different than the original Xbox and other gaming systems?

Improving on the highly successful Xbox, which was first released in November 2001, Microsoft upgraded the system to include be wireless. The system has wireless controllers which can range up to 30 feet away from the system. The console will have a wireless networking adaptor for homes with high-speed, wireless internet.

The system's graphics and speed will be the main selling point to gamers. The 360 was built with High Definition televisions in mind to show how off the truly great graphics. However, according to Xbox's official website, the system does not need an HDTV to play the games.

The Web site said the console contains three central processing units, each at 3.2 GHz. It also contains a custom ATI graphics processor of 500 MHz and 512 MB of RAM, more than eight times that of the original Xbox. The console has three multi-purpose USB ports built-into it.

Tuesday promises to be a busy day for gamers and all those in the electronics retail field. If you miss your opportunity to get an Xbox then, your chances will be limited to find one before Christmas as most stores are unsure of their next shipment of Xbox 360s.

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