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Microsoft UK warns of possible Xbox One X launch shortages

Firm teams up with Dixons and GAME as part of new marketing campaign

Xbox UK has warned consumers over week one shortages of its new X console as it kicks off its marketing campaign.

"The Scorpio edition sold out in record time," UK boss Harvey Eagle tells GamesIndustry.biz.

"It was the fastest pre-order of an Xbox that we've ever had. I can't guarantee that stock will be available in launch week for people to just walk into a store and pick up. Demand is really high. I'd just encourage people if they want one at launch, to get moving. What I can say is that we will have new stock deliveries into retail each week as we get through to Christmas."

The TV campaign for Xbox One X began this week, and the firm will also be teaming up with Dixons and GAME in an effort to showcase 4K content to those without 4K TVs.

"You have to be able to explain why games are going to look and play better on Xbox One X, but people still want to see those games, you are right," Eagle continues.

"You have to be able to explain why games are going to look and play better on Xbox One X, but people still want to see those games"

"So what we try and do is make sure we give as much opportunity for people to try Xbox One X at all the big consumer shows, so E3, Gamescom and EGX. From a retail point-of-view, I am happy to say we are partnering with GAME to have the Xbox One X playable at five Belong stores in the run-up to Christmas. Details on how people can book into those sessions will come from GAME next week. But it's free for people to come in and try. Those will be connected to 4K TVs.

"And another example will be Dixons, where when you walk into Dixons over the Christmas period, Xbox One X 4K content will be displayed on all 4K TV screens, to show people how great these games look.

"We think retail will have big footfall going into Christmas, and we want to take full advantage of that."

Eagle cites IHS figures that state 3.7m UK households will own a 4K TV by the end of the year, with that number expected to hit 12m by 2021 - roughly half of all UK households.

He says the firm will be running a "full console launch campaign", with games like Assassin's Creed Origins and Forza Motorsport 7 expected to be the main focus.

In addition to Xbox One X, Eagle says there will be some attractive bundles and deals around Xbox One S this Q4, which he says will target a more family gamer audience. And there's also a lot of expectation around the console version of PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds.

"It's the biggest game in the world right now, so that's a good start," he says. "It will have great appeal for people who enjoy shooters on consoles. People who play Overwatch today and Call of Duty... I think they will love PUBG. Some will have already played it on PC and know how great it is, but there are many who haven't. We are really excited about it and we will treat it as an important launch for us."

UK retailers are hopeful that X can deliver some strong growth for the market, with physical game sales slowing in the face of a significant increase in downloads.

"If I think about the home console market, there is actually growth there this year, which I think is great," Eagle explains. "A lot of that is driven by the success of Switch. Nintendo is doing a really great job. Obviously, with Xbox One X launching, we think that is a real opportunity for retailers to have success with Xbox.

"From a gaming point-of-view, there is a fantastic run of games coming. I mentioned Assassin's Creed Origins, then a couple of weeks after you have Call of Duty: WWII and then shortly after that you have Star Wars: Battlefront II. We talked about PUBG coming to Xbox this exclusive. Beyond Christmas, I am very exciting about our slate. We have Sea of Thieves from Rare, we have State of Decay 2 and we have Crackdown 3. I think the forward looking view of games is very healthy.

"What we are seeing is digital sales of games are growing strongly, you're right."

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Christopher Dring avatar

Christopher Dring

Head of Games B2B

Chris is a 15-year games business veteran. He spent nine years at UK business weekly MCV, including five years as editor. He joined GI in 2016 and oversees editorial, sales and events worldwide. He is the architect behind Best Places To Work Awards and GI Live. And is a tiny bit obsessed with market data. He also writes for Doctor Who Magazine. Because Doctor Who is awesome.

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