Xbox, Mysteriously, is Sold Out: "The timing of the Xbox's mysterious disappearance is both puzzling and unexpected. Stacked boxes of rival Nintendo GameCube, a cheaper buy at $99, crowd the aisles at stores like Best Buy. The Xbox's chief competition, the Sony PlayStation 2 (also $150) is almost as hard to find as the Xbox, but consider the chief reason: Sony recently revised its PlayStation 2 as a much smaller player with built-in Ethernet, jumpstarting sales. But unlike the Xbox, it's still possible to order the new PlayStation 2 at many e-tailers, despite the fact that it's also sold out at most brick and mortar stores. Why is the Xbox suddenly so unavailable?
One reason might be that Microsoft prepped the retail channel with a special Xbox holiday 2004 bundle that included two free games, EA NCAA Football 2005 and Top Spin, for the same price that the company normally sells just a bare console. But wouldn't the company keep a number of bare consoles in the channel for when the holiday bundles sold out? Some I spoke with at retail stores this week speculated that Microsoft might be prepping a smaller new Xbox, similar to the recent PlayStation 2 revision, for January. But I've heard nothing about such an update, and Microsoft never responded to my questions about the Xbox shortage yesterday."