If you’ve wanted to get your hands on a Microsoft
video game console and you’ve had trouble finding one, rejoice: Microsoft on Tuesday announced that beginning this week, it will distribute two to three times the number of Xbox 360’s it’s been able to up to now.
The company attributes the increased inventory to an improved component supply chain and the bringing online of a third manufacturing partner — Celestica is joining Wistron and Flextronics to actually make Xbox 360 consoles.
The Xbox 360 is the first of a new generation of video game consoles; it’s expected to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Revolution systems when both hit stores later this year. For $299, users can buy a basic “Core System” with wired controller and composite video cable; $399 nets you a system equipped with a hard drive, wireless controller, Xbox Live headset, component HD AV cable and Ethernet cable. Presuming, of course, that you’ve been able to find one.
Xbox 360 systems have been in short supply ever since the system was released during the holiday 2005 system. The release was
marred by problems: A scarcity of new units left gamers standing in line to buy them, often frustrated by a lack of available stock, and some users had problems associated with the system’s power supply and ventilation. What’s more, the Xbox 360
launched to a tepid reception
and an inventory glut in Japan, leaving gamers in North America even more frustrated with their inability to get their hands on new systems. In some cases, Xbox 360 consoles were selling several times above their sticker price on popular online auction service Ebay.
Microsoft’s vice president of its Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division, Peter Moore, said that Microsoft had “turned a major corner” today. Moore also said that Xbox 360 will have 80 games available by June and that new content is being added to Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online gaming service. Xbox Live Marketplace also provides Xbox 360 users with downloadable content to add on to their systems, such as new cars and goals for Project Gotham Racing 3, multiplayer maps for Perfect Dark Zero and more.
New games coming to Xbox 360 this season include Final Fantasy XI, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Top Spin 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Battlefield 2: Modern Combat.