Video games are a 27-billion-dollar-a-year business worldwide. Microsoft has just released its newest version of the XBOX, the 360. Despite some complaints from customers that they are experiencing technical problems, stores have already begun to run out of the item and retailers don't expect demand to slow down anytime soon.
Day.. night... rain and shine…people have braved the elements and lined up all across the United States to get their hands on the latest video game console- Microsoft's XBOX 360. It's sleeker, more compact and more sophisticated than its predecessor, the XBOX, which was first introduced in 2001.
For hard-core gamers, this is a must-have.
A gamer Michael Futter said, "I am one of those people who needs to have a system on the first day. I need to get in on the ground floor."
And the XBOX 360 has set new standards for video games. Along with life-like graphics and sophisticated online capabilities, the XBOX 360 can also play DVDs and music. It's an entire entertainment center. Jeff Karp is the vice president of Marketing for Electronic Arts.
"What you are going to see with XBOX 360 is that it's the perfect compliment for HD TV's. You are going to see that it is really going to take advantage of the power of HD TV's. These games are really going to come to life on HD TV's."
So what's the cost for one of these boxes? The no frills version goes for two hundred ninety-nine dollars. For a hundred dollars more, the premium package comes with a 20- gigabyte hard drive, wireless controller and headset for online gaming.
However, the console has been popping up on the internet auction site E-Bay, for prices way over list price. One buyer reportedly purchased the console from the auction site for a whopping ten-thousand six hundred dollars.
Even Hollywood is getting involved. At a Los Angeles release party for the new product, American rapper Snoop Dogg admits he can't get enough.
Reporter: "When was the last time you played with your Xbox, sir?"
Snoop Dogg: "About an hour and a half ago before I came here. I play with it daily baby."
Gamers in Europe and Asia will have to wait before they can get XBOX 360 of their own. Microsoft is set to release it in Europe December 2, and in Asia on December 10. Microsoft expects its product will be in high demand for the upcoming holiday season.
Microsoft Entertainment Division President Robbie Boch says it's only the beginning.
"It's certainly a mainstream media. It is certainly growing faster than any other form of entertainment and we think it has tremendous prospects for the future."
Microsoft, which dominates software, is starting to expand its hardware business at the expense of Japanese rivals Sony and Nintendo. Sony is the leader in video game console sales. It is expected to release its newest version of Playstation next year.