Xbox stirs up midnight frenzy

Hundreds of customers lined the street outside Grace Bros Sydney City last night, eager to be among the first to own Microsoft's first foray into games consoles, the Xbox.

Some had been queuing for more than nine hours when the stampede began at the stroke of midnight. The scene was repeated at retailers throughout Australia, with Dick Smith Powerhouse, Electronics Boutique and Toys R Us throwing open their doors for the Xbox's midnight launch.

David McLean, Microsoft's Xbox group manager, sales and business operations, and John Wawrzyk, a Grace Bros manager, were both delighted with the reaction from customers, as Grace Bros staff struggled to keep peripherals and game titles on the shelf.

The first 200 customers at the Grace Bros Sydney store who purchased an Xbox last night were also rewarded for their troubles, with a parcel of bonus Xbox accessories including two free games and either an additional controller or DVD remote.

"The reaction has been fantastic," McLean said, adding that Microsoft would continue to ship stock to retailers over the coming months.

Microsoft hopes to sell more than 100,000 consoles in the first three months. The Xbox will retail for $649.

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