"You want people to be able to walk in the store and buy one on day one, so you're trying to manage the inventory that isn't pre-sold," Spencer said. "It's not a yield problem, it's us trying to manage the hardware side. I want parents who don't think about pre-ordering electronics to be able to walk in and have a chance to find a box. There might be a line, but I don't want it to be that if you didn't pre-order in September, you can't get one. That doesn't feel like a great consumer experience."
Supplies of the Xbox 360 were notoriously tight when it released in November 2005. Many stores were only allocated a handful of units, and managers were forced to turn away customers that were lining up several hours before the midnight launch. Spencer said Microsoft wants to avoid a similar situation when the console hits store shelves Nov. 22. Though he wouldn't give specific pre-order numbers, he assured GameInformer that the Xbox One is tracking ahead of its predecessor.
"Availability should feel a lot better than it did for 360," he said. "If people want to pick up more controllers and games, they'll be there. We feel really good about our pre-order number, and we're managing it through allocation rather than demand. [Pre-order] isn't the business. It's way more important to me what happens when people walk in the store. The business is selling consoles."