The Xbox 360’s North American launch on November 22 has continued to make headlines in the mainstream media on multiple fronts, related to the console's reliability, the extreme demand for hardware units at retail, and the continued scarcity of Microsoft's next-gen game hardware.
Reports of faulty consoles, something common to most hardware launches, have been a favorite topic for media outlets, with the Associate Press publishing "isolated reports of technical problems", and quoting an Xbox spokesperson as explaining: "It's a few reports of consoles here and there not working properly... It's what you would expect with a consumer electronics instrument of this complexity ...par for the course."
Another popular story in the mainstream press has been the altercation that occurred at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in northeast Maryland on the day of the launch. Reportedly, a crowd of around 300 people had waited for as much as twelve hours in the hope of purchasing a console. However, when a store manager announced that they would be sold on a first come, first served basis, instead of a number system devised by the crowd, the situation quickly turned violent.
"That's when all hell broke loose," said Ben DiSabatino IV, a 23-year-old Bear, Delaware resident speaking to AP. A number of the crowd were knocked down and trampled, although without any serious injuries, and it took ten police officers to restore order.
Further evidence of the Xbox 360's scarcity can be seen in the price that Xbox 360 merchandise is currently selling for on online auction sites such as eBay. Premium bundles (including a removable hard drive and other accessories) can be seen to regularly sell for between $600 and $700, with Core systems for around $500. Many systems are being advertised for even more, although common sense does appear to be prevailing, with few bids for most of the listings in excess of $1,000.