Xbox 360 shortages: conspiracy or cock-up?

ABC News reports the rumour that employees of games shops are nabbing pre-ordered Xboxes to flog on eBay. There’s precious little detail and even less evidence, but it’s already being reported as fact.

According to The Inquirer:

This would explain that while there are so many shortages, there seems to be no shortages of high priced machines on ebay.

That’s possible, but there’s another explanation that doesn’t rely on a rumour: as the denizens of Digg.com (who’ve been discussing this rumour) point out, many eBay Xboxes could be fraudulent sellers, and others could be buying boxes from legit eBay sellers and then trying to sell them on. It happens a lot with concert tickets, so I’d be surprised if it isn’t also happening with 360s.

7 thoughts on “Xbox 360 shortages: conspiracy or cock-up?

  1. David says:

    What a load of pish.

    The reason there are so many on ebay is cos there’s a bloody shortage. I know a lot of people who placed preorders at multiple shops to ensure they got one – the preorders all fulfill and they go on ebay. I know of quite a few people who’ve decided that they aren’t that desperate to have the 360 and have just sold it on ebay for double and are planning to buy another one when they’re available in the shops.

    I think a lot of this might’ve come from the ebay listing from a guy claiming to be a manager at game selling his own stock.

  2. Gary says:

    Yep. As I say, I think a lot of the action is people buying them from ebay sellers, then selling them again themselves. Greater Fool theory and all that.

  3. tm says:

    Am I the only one totally fed up with these clearly manufactured shortages of consoles at every launch? I mean all that rubbish about ‘we’re only making X many so we can ensure quality’ – does anyone buy that anymore? Doesn’t seem to apply to replicating a bazillion copies of Windows ‘Visible’ or whatever does it? And it clearly didn’t help with quality issues at the american launch either.

    Its particularly funny that it’s not going to happen the japanese launch, presumably because they have now realised that demand there is so soft they would have to manufacture a trully tiny quantity – economic suicide – to create that sort of effect.

    So we get an artifical demand spike, all with a product that no one has really had time to properly judge due to lack of time and an anemic software line up (factor in any bad game being written off with ‘they are only the first generation titles’ too) and what is the result? Shock! We effectively have a speculative bubble being played out on ebay. Anyone watch boiler room when channel four showed it again recently? If you tried that s**t on the stock market the authorities would be all over you. But we put up with it because after all it’s only a console so only the geek underclass are really interested…

    ok, rant over.

  4. Gary says:

    I’m not sure it’s a manufactured shortage as much as a really stupid launch strategy. While the fanboys would have whinged, it’d have been much more sensible to have a staggered launch in the various territories. It’d still have sold out, but the shortages wouldn’t have been quite so bad.

  5. tm says:

    hmmm, not so sure. You see given the comparitively low level of demand we’re actually seeing for it (do you remember the PS2 launch? This really has had *nothing* on that) I just don’t buy that it is inevitable that it would have sold out – yet anyway. Maybe by the last week before christmas, but that is a differnt effect.

    Perhaps desperation to get to market quickly has influenced things a bit, but I’m not convinced of that either.

    And of course what I was really getting at is that console launches *always* sell out. Well if we knew what sold out last time surely we should be better at figuring out how many we need to not sell out (as quickly) this time. A lot of very highly paid guys are pushing this thing for MS, you want me to believe they are too dumb to work it out?

    Oh, and this actually plays into the fanboys hands. Most of the people who get the console are those willing to prove themselves by queueing all night or paying over the odds. The marketeers are actually further ghetoising a pastime that doens’t need to go any further in that direction, thank you very much.

    Anyway, seriously – rant over this time. ;-)

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