Microsoft may have moseyed back into the console battlefield with last night’s announcements, but it could still struggle to satisfy demand at launch. Polygon reports that mega retailer GameStop has already fulfilled its allocation of pre-orders for the Xbox One, and has ceased accepting further deposits in stores as a result. Fascinatingly, this is not simply due to high demand.

According to the site – and numerous anecdotal reports around the web – allocations for the Xbox One are much lower than the PS4. A Californian branch of the retailer noted that it has just 16 slots for Microsoft’s machine, and a whopping 60 for Sony’s next generation system. According to the franchise, these allocations are decided by their respective platform holders.

So, what does this mean? Well, it’s possible that the Xbox maker’s attempting to create the impression of stock limitations in order to make its system seem more popular, but there have been unsubstantiated rumours that suggest that the console has been having some manufacturing issues. If it’s the latter, then it may find itself slipping behind Sony this Christmas – in spite of last night’s dramatic turnaround.

Of course, a third option may be that it’s being cautious until it knows how many rigs that it can actually produce, and that it will upgrade allocations closer to launch. We suppose that it’s possible, too, that Sony’s being optimistic – it has cautioned already that there may be PS4 stock shortages this holiday.

We’ll have to wait until the systems are on store shelves before we get any clear indications of how they’re performing. In the meantime, if you’re planning to purchase either system, we suggest that you get your deposits in now. We suspect that both consoles are going to be hard to find this Christmas.

[via polygon.com]