Anger is mounting amongst British game retailers, with the news that normal stock levels of the Xbox console may not be reached for another three months.
Although it did not suffer the complete blackout endured by Sony in the run up to Christmas, stock levels of the Xbox have been problematic since November, with still no end in sight.
So prolonged, and apparently unexplained, have the problems become that conspiracy theories have begun to circulate regarding ulterior motives for the shortages. Many retailers are now openly speculating whether Microsoft has in fact ceased production of the console, in favour of the next generation machine, or is at least limiting its support to larger retail chains.
Quoted in British trade paper MCV, Will Copeland of independent store One Step Beyond has said "I had no Xbox stock in February and just 12 during the whole of January. They say they are catching up with allocations, but that simply isn't true from our experience."
UK Xbox boss Neil Thompson has admitted his own frustration at the situation, but has been at pains to insist that there is no conspiracy. "It has been tough for us to judge the demand for Xbox hardware. It has gained huge momentum over the past few months and it’s a challenge that we’re facing worldwide," he told MCV.
"But I can categorically say that the reason for the shortages has nothing to do with clearing channels in preparation for Xbox 2."