Hunt is on for the hot gadgets


Chris Stamm plays on the new Xbox 360 demo unit on display at Gamestop in The Oaks Mall on Wednesday.

AARON DAYE/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 12:58 a.m.
They're new. They're hot. And they're gone.
If your child is among the throngs yearning for a new Xbox 360 or iPod nano under the Christmas tree this year, it might be a game of being in the right place at the right time in order to snag one.
In a random phone survey taken of area video game and computer stores this week, not a single Xbox 360 could be found. Managers of smaller stores, such as Rhino Games in Butler Plaza and GameStop in the Oaks Mall, speculated they might not get a new shipment until after Christmas - but admitted they really couldn't say that for sure.
A quick survey of Internet Web sites produced only one site advertising available "Xbox 360 Premium Systems" at the considerably marked-up price of $849 compared with typical retail prices of $300 to $400.
Big-box stores in Gainesville like Best Buy, Target and Sam's Club couldn't scrape one up either.
"We had people waiting in line at 2:30 in the afternoon the day before we released them, so they were gone before we opened," said Steve Wilson, manager at Best Buy.
The Xbox 360 - the newest generation of gaming consoles released by Microsoft that is being advertised as the most powerful system on the market - was released in limited quantities on Nov. 22. According to a statement released by Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft is replenishing the supplies of Xbox 360s weekly at retailers across the country, though it did not specify when certain regions would be seeing them again.
"We are well aware that many gamers are disappointed to have not gotten their Xbox 360 on day one. We are working around the clock to manufacture as many Xbox 360s as we can and are replenishing our retail channel week after week," Bach said.
Wilson said he does know that his Best Buy store will be releasing an ad on Dec. 18 that features the Xbox 360, so he assumes that means the store will have some in stock by then.
As far as iPods go, Sam's Club was picked clean of any of the new models - the sleek and slim iPod nano and the highly sought-after video-capable iPods.
The iPod nano is a pencil-thin version of the popular iPod personal music player, and it comes in two-gigabyte (holding 500 songs) or four-gigabyte (holding 1,000 songs) sizes.
Apple also released a new version of the iPod that not only holds music and photos, but also plays video. The video-capable models came in 30-gigabyte or 60-gigabyte sizes.
Both new releases come in either black or white, and are available at http://store.apple.com, or by calling 1-800-MY-APPLE.
A few nanos were found around Gainesville Wednesday, but those looking for the more powerful video-capable iPods may be out of luck.
"Those are really popular now," Wilson said Wednesday afternoon, noting his store was tapped out of the powerful iPods. "But we do have about 30 of the two-gigabyte black nano iPods."
A Target manager said he had a few nano iPods left Tuesday, but by Wednesday afternoon, those had been snatched up. Though Target receives new shipments of merchandise every night, the managers don't know when the shipments will include new iPods or Xbox 360s.
"It's hit or miss. Whenever we get them we feel like we've struck gold," said Manager Chad Williams.
Alice Wallace can be reached at (352) 374-5036 or alice.wallace@gvillesun.com.

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