The Xbox 360 is completely out of stock at most Japanese retailers, with stores unable to restock immediately due to unexpected demand.
After years of poor sales, with the format selling an average of only 2,000 or 3,000 units a month, demand has shot up following the release of Namco Bandaiís Tales Of Vesperia.
Generally regarded as Japanís third most popular role-playing franchise (after Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, but not including Pokemon), the new Tales game is exclusive to the Xbox 360.
The game sold 108,000 units in its first week and as a result became the fastest selling Xbox 360 title so far in Japan. At the same time, its release saw the Xbox 360ís hardware sales increase almost fivefold, to a total of 24,962 units Ė compared to 9,508 units for the PlayStation 3.
A message on the Japanese Xbox 360 website has apologized for the lack of stock, with blog site Kotaku translating the text as: "Currently, the Xbox 360 is sold out, and retailers are unable to restock their supply. This is a result of our own sales targets being exceeded by the actual customer sales. We deeply apologize for this inconvenience to our customers, retailers and business partners.
"Here at Microsoft, we are moving forward quickly with console production, and plan to ship the standard Xbox 360 model out this September. Furthermore, we will sequentially be shipping out the Elite and the Arcade models. We ask that you please patiently wait until the console is shipped."