First of all, dorky brother site Kotaku is reporting that all the Xbox 360s that were released this weekend at Best Buy have already been sold out. No big surprise there. We have it on good word that there will be one more Xbox 360 shipment into Best Buy before Xmas, so keep checking (here).
But why have they been so hard to buy? Was the shortage engineered? Slate’s (and FT’s) Tim Harford weighed in, comparing the Xbox 360 shortage to holiday frenzies of old and asking economists if other options might have suited Microsoft better. He doesn’t purport one final theory, but we feel he’s on the right track when he reminds us to “Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence.”
1Up’s Jane Pinckard offers counterpoint to Harford’s article, sort of. While she seems to take Harford’s multiple theories as one unified whole, she also does not offer a final, satisfactory explanation.
But we can: Microsoft fucked up, choosing to ship to all three regions—the US, Europe, and Japan—when they should have focused on just their strongest market at home. The real question is if the consoles they aren’t selling this Xmas would have made the difference in the upcoming battle against the Playstation 3.
Update: Wow. Read the first comment on this Xbox post at Gizmodo. What a cluster. Let’s pepper spray grandpa! Best Buy really needs to come up with a universal policy for distributing these things.