British stores are already warning that games fans face a wait to get their hands on the Xbox 360 after it’s launched in the UK next week.
Shops across the US have already sold out following yesterday’s launch, with thousands queuing from midnight to snap up the new wireless games system. The Xbox 360 will hit the UK on 2 December but already major stores are warning shoppers not to expect to get one before Christmas.
Games store Game has confirmed that online stock will be limited and only some customers who pre-order online will receive their console at launch. Game has now shut its pre-order book, but says it hopes to be able to fulfil all pre-orders already made at its stores before Christmas.
Online store Amazon also says it is also unable to guarantee delivery of some Xbox 360 pre-orders for Christmas. It added that all pre-orders made on or after 2 November will have expected delivery dates in 2006. PC World said it could not guarantee delivery of the Xbox 360 in time for Christmas.
Excellent wireless controller
The Xbox 360 system is powerful and has high-definition graphics. It can play music, display photos and show DVDs.
There are two versions: a basic system which costs GBP 209 and a deluxe model for GBP 279 which has a detachable hard drive and can play older Xbox games.
Which? Senior Researcher Oliver Pawley has seen the new Xbox in action.
‘The controller is excellent – much better than the previous and much-criticised Xbox ones. It’s comfortable to hold and the controls are very responsive. The controller is wireless, too, so you don’t have annoying cables. Best if all, you can turn the console on and off with it – perfect if you’re a couch potato.
‘The 360 does all sorts of multimedia tricks. As well as playing CDs, DVDs and MP3s, it can read music from Windows PCs and even iPods. Unfortunately, it won’t let you play Apple’s copy-protected “fairplay” music files, which most people who download legally – iTunes customers – own.’
He added:’Overall, the Xbox 360 is very impressive but doesn’t quite seem to be the leap into the future that it might have been. However, the games we saw weren’t complete, so we’ll reserve our judgement until we’ve had more time with the final versions.’
We’ll be reviewing the Xbox 360 in more depth our February 2006 issue.