Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Crazy Launch Stories

Thanks for all the interesting launch stories, guys. Here's a sample and I have a few more for later today. Oh, and I'll remember the phrase "first person melon shooter" for a long time.

From DQ reader Steve Davey:
Just got back from the Best Buy midnight launch in Bellevue, WA. I got there today at 4:30 p.m. (had a meeting that went long at work so I couldn't get their earlier). I had read previously online that this store would have about 262 units. When I got there I was approximately 290+/- in line. I wanted to go to another store in the city and wait out the 9 a.m. launch but my buddy said no so we stayed. Apparently Gates was coming to this store at 11 p.m. to sell the first 5 and sign a few autographs and the line propaganda was that Microsoft would "come through" for us.

We waited until about 9pm when they finally came out and said they had arranged to get the "extra" units from the apparently not so successful Zero hour launch in the desert. These 200+ units would be shipped in by plane and brought to that store. The next 200 people in line got a guarantee that they would get a unit by 4 p.m. tommorow if we prepaid tonight. So success in the end.

But it is interesting to see the difference. Not much interest in the launch party but 400+ people at this store for the launch. Kind of crazy.

From Magnus:
Got up at 4:30, drove to 6 stores and every single store had a line with more people in it than that store had units.

From Robert Varak:
No wacky stories from the launch, but I was also pleasantly surprised at the professional and efficient launch at my local Gamestop. I've known the manager here for a year, and he's a nice, bright guy. They opened at 10 for a bit to allow everyone to pay off any balances, then passed out machines at 12. A bit screwy but easy enough as I live about 5 minutes away. I went out of my way to commend him and his crew.

What was interesting was a little incident I had with his Regional Manager while waiting in the store. This stooge was spooking people into buying the $20 protection plan with all sorts of BS about the internet being "overrun" with stories about people who were won defective units etc. He was really brow-beating people. "Did you know that 95% of every first-run of consoles is defective within the first year?".

The store manager was clearly not pleased. When he tried this shit with me I told him that I was an editor at a videogame website (lie, of course) and that I had heard no such stories. In fact, I told him in the LOUDEST VOICE POSSIBLE, the number of people with units before launch was so small that it would be unlikely that there would be that many defective units. Finally, I reminded him in EVEN LOUDER terms that there was a warranty though MS. Then I told him I wouldn't need the plan because I'm the type of guy who would just fix it myself. This statement is true except for the part about being the type of guy who would fix it myself.

Not two minutes later he's misleading customers by saying that the MS Wireless adapter for Xbox won't work with 360. I jumped all over him for this too, to the delight and appreciation of the poor sucker who was going to buy a second adapter. This was too much for the store manager, who called the regional guy to the back room shortly thereafter. That was the last I saw of the regional manager.

I guess the short lesson is that for every conscientious and professional videogame retailer there's at least one cut from the used car salesman mold.

From Dean Krelic:
I didn't preorder a system, so I decided to go to my local Wal-Mart at about 11:00pm, only to find the line stretching halfway across the store. So I try a nearby K-Mart. When I get there I find out that they have a whopping 8 consoles available, so what they are doing is handing out raffle tickets and having a drawing the next morning. This morning at the drawing, the first seven tickets are picked and none of them are even close to my number. The last ticket is called. 4100. My ticket number is 4101.

Who knows when I'll get one now, since every store in the area (near Pittsburgh) is sold out.

From James Salmons:
Went to BJ's (like Sam's Club) in an attempt to obtain an Xbox 360. I stood in line for about 2 1/2 hrs under the premise that the store had 12 units and I was number 9 in line (good odds you would think). At 7:45 a.m. the store manager walked up to the Xbox group and proclaimed that no Xbox units would be available (distribution screw up) and that the company would NOT issue any rain checks or vouchers. A heated argument ensued that ultimately lead to a large warehouse store size box of cantaloupes being destroyed by an angry mob. I personally left right after the first melon toss. I wonder if anyone has ever thought of a first person melon shooter?

From DQ reader and Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh:
Want to know when lines started forming in this area? Try 5 p.m. on Friday night. Weirdos aside, most people started lining up yesterday and for the stores that will open their doors tomorrow morning, the lines started forming around noon today. No thanks. I was going to go wait in line all day today, but couldn't get past the suffocating sense of embarrasment so I opted not to.

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