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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.
By Bill Detwiler, Contributor
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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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Chris Staudt

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

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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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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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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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gamers and their beanbags

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

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