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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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GameCube Sold Out! Gasp!

Fireworks explode in the sky. Confetti dances on the wind. Nintendo board directors swoon. The press looks contemptuous.

Earlier this year, Toys R Us and Amazon's American websites made headlines by selling their complete pre-order allocation of Xbox consoles inside half an hour. Many argued that since neither company was willing to specify how many consoles had been on offer, this was just a publicity stunt, and a fairly boring one at that. Apparently neither company took notice of the reaction though, because this morning we learned that Toys R Us and Amazon's complete allocation of American GameCubes had been snapped up for pre-order in less than four minutes. The implication is obviously that GameCube sold out quicker than Xbox, but this is an entirely irrelevant bit of news without the actual allocation figures. So how many consoles were sold? It was a "great allocation". That's what Toys R Us' VP of corporate communications told CVG. Amazon was unavailable for comment and we doubt they would have anything revealing to say about it either. What makes this whole situation particularly untenable is that the GameCube bundles on Toys R Us consisted of a console (either in black or indigo), Luigi's Mansion, Wave Race: Blue Storm and Star Wars Rogue Leader, plus a second controller, memory card and six month subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly. Even at a conservative estimate that's about $320 minimum. If we had been told the consoles sold out as stand-alone units of $200 a piece that might seem more realistic. With such a large number of games on offer as of day one, it seems incomprehensible that everybody would be after those three games specifically, however good they are. Related Feature - Hip to be Cube!