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Photos: Countdown to Xbox 360

Thousands waited outside stores until midnight Nov. 22 to be the first ones to buy and play Microsoft's Xbox 360.
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1 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

EB Games, S.F.

Game fans lined up outside an EB Games store in downtown San Francisco as they waited for Microsoft's latest version of Xbox to go on sale on Nov. 22, 2005.

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2 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Chris Staudt

Chris Staudt, 37, was among the first in San Francisco to purchase an Xbox 360 videogame console.

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3 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Shawn Beck

Shawn Beck pops the cork on a bottle of wine as he and other video game devotees wait in line for a chance to buy Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console at Best Buy in San Francisco.

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4 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

waiting in line in Cambridge

Some stores waited until morning to sell their supply of Xbox 360s. At about 7 a.m. on Nov. 22, a crowd stood in the pouring rain for an 8 a.m. store opening outside the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall in Cambridge, Mass.

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line to the hangar

In Palmdale, Calif., beginning Nov. 20, Microsoft staged an invitation-only event, called Zero Hour, for devoted gamers. On Nov. 21, the line of Zero Hour gamers waiting to receive Xboxes stretched all the way across a 200,000-square-foot hangar and back. Many sat on small white bean bags handed out to gamers earlier.

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trucks arrive

At precisely 9 p.m. on Nov. 21, three trucks arrived at Zero Hour loaded with Xbox 360s.

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opening the truck

A Best Buy employee cheers as the first truck full of Xbox 360s is opened at the Zero Hour event.

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waiting in a line of 1,000

Zero Hour gamers waited hours in a line of at least 1,000 people to get their Xbox 360s.

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registers

To handle the rush of Xbox buyers, Best Buy installed almost 30 cash registers in the Zero Hour hangar in Palmdale, Calif.

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conveyor belt

As Xboxes came off the trucks, Best Buy employees put them on a conveyor belt to get them to the gamers.

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11 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Edwards with 1st Xbox

Norm Edwards, center, with the very first Xbox 360 given out at the Zero Hour launch event in Palmdale, Calif.

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12 of 12 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

gamers and their beanbags

Many attendees left Zero Hour not only with their Xboxes, but several beanbags.

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