An undisclosed number of lucky gamers have received Xbox One consoles already, nearly two weeks before the system's official November 22 launch, due to a "systems error" at the retailer Target in the US, a rep for the company confirmed to Kotaku today.
This follows a dizzying past 24 hours during which one person tried to sell their early Xbox One on eBay and another posted video and a blizzard of Tweets reporting details of his brand new Xbox One. Both said they had ordered the machines online and got their surprise mailings from Target in the last couple of days.
"Due to a systems error, Target shipped a small number of video game consoles prior to the street date," a US Target spokesperson said in their statement to Kotaku. "The vast majority of video game preorders are slated to arrive on the street date."
A Kotaku retail source told us yesterday that they'd heard that Target had accidentally not assigned a release date to the regular version of the Xbox One, leading the retailer to automatically mail them out when they received their shipments. The source said that Target had put a date on the Day One edition of the console, which would explain why that version wasn't sent out.
The error was caught in advance by most distribution centres, the source said, but one east coast centre, they believe, accidentally did send a batch out. The source estimated that as many as 150 units may have been shipped. We've not been able to corroborate this, but the retail source has been on the money before.
We shared this account of the matter with the Target rep, but they did not confirm or deny it, instead providing the statement above.
Early Xbox One recipients might want to be careful about playing the console, however — or at least publicly revealing what they're seeing as they do. The user who received his last night and deluged Twitter with an unboxing video and screen captures of what he was playing ended up being banned by Xbox Live. Microsoft is examining the incident and has yet to comment, though Xbox Live community rep Larry Hryb said whatever has happened, the user's console will not be permanently banned.