Trying to buy one from Walmart has been especially maddening. The site slows to a crawl, and getting to the checkout screen is hit or miss (mostly miss). Even if you get there, as I have a few times, the order does not process because the console sells out while the site trips over itself. Walmart just does not have a good handle on the traffic spikes.
"I think our retail relationships are important. We do think about solving or at least helping with the issue that you talk about. We’ve had real discussions internally about, should I be able to reserve my slot? I’ll put some money down, I know my machine’s getting built January 20th, and I’ll get it on February 1st. We have customers that would do that today," Spencer said.
Interestingly, Spencer also talked about how retailers handle pre-order allocations. As Spencer explains it, Microsoft instructs retailers on what percentage of inventory to make available for the initial pre-order sales frenzy. Otherwise, "the retailers would sell them all, not because they're evil, but if you've got demand, why wouldn't you take the money?"
"We want people to feel like there’s some consoles to go buy, and it’s not just the day where everybody gets to go pick up their console. I don’t know if that’s the right decision in today’s world. That’s very old world thinking, people are going to go line up outside of a store, kind of last decade thinking. I think we should challenge ourselves on that. Is that really the supply chain through the consumer that we’re talking about, that is a reality? We talked to our retail partners about this as well," Spencer added.
He is not wrong—the demand certainly is there. And while Microsoft is not sharing shipment numbers, the company did recently announce that this was the biggest launch in Xbox history, with more new consoles sold than any prior generation.