Microsoft's Xbox launched with a fanfare last night as the clocks ticked over into the morning of November 15th 2001 in New York City. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates spearheaded a symbolic launch celebration at the Times Square, New York branch of Toys R Us, by handing out the very first Xbox to a gleeful customer. The fact that many stores (including some in New York) had been handing out pre-ordered Xboxes for several days is being conveniently swept under the carpet… Toys R Us in NYC is reported to have had 1,000 Xboxes, along with a 5,000 square foot billboard and various video screens showing off Xbox software. Several retailers across America also opened at midnight to satisfy pre-orders. All of the first day units have been sold by pre-order. Microsoft has repeatedly warned journalists off the topic of launch allocation, indicating plans to replenish the supply in retail channels where needed, but we learnt this morning that the actual number to ship on day one is around 300,000 - all pre-orders. The first re-supply is due on Monday, so we'll have a better picture of the console's launch shortly afterward. Microsoft will have to be extremely aggressive this Christmas in order to steal any market share at all from Sony, who have had things to themselves for several months. Sony has an incredible number of high quality titles on store shelves in the States now. Microsoft does not. It'll be interesting to see where this one goes.
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