While the “hardcore” were rushing home from Zero Hour to log onto Xbox Live a different, more common breed of gamers were patiently waiting outside in the freezing cold to buy a 360. On the way back from Zero Hour I had the chance to check out a few locals at 12AM PST. None of the stores we went to were open and it was shaping up to be a cold night on the street if you wanted to get an Xbox. Outside of Wal-Mart were about thirty people waiting for a rumored number of 14 systems. People here weren’t thrilled to be in line after they heard that management bought all 7 of the premium bundles. Target had a more jovial scene about thirty gamers were in line for thirty systems. Everyone was pretty quiet, just trying to stay warm in their hoodies and for one person a sleeping bag. A night on the street was worth it for the gamer in the front of the line, he was psyched for Dead or Alive 4. One astute man checked out different venues before deciding to wait at Target at around 5PM.He picked the location because the line was still short compared to a nearby Best Buy. Over at Microsoft’s launch partner was the longest line. Nearly 100 people snaked around the side of the store in large groups. To kill time, people hung out in their tents, played with their PSPs and one group sat down to play Othello. Up at the front of the line were the uber-hardcore fans.
This group waited in line from 3AM Monday morning. They had two tents, one packed with essential rations like… soda and the other with people wrapped in whatever could keep them warm. They even had an Xbox console and games in their car to play, but no generator or TV. Instead they resorted to watching Family Guy on a laptop. What amazed me the most was the high spirits these gamers were in. While most people cursed the cold weather (it does get cold in California, really), they turned the situation into a treasured memory. One person in the camp didn’t even want a system, instead he just wanted to hang out and live the experience. To these cheerful Best Buy patrons and to everyone who waited late at night for a 360 congrats on “jumping in”. We’ll see you on Live.