The tradition of lining up for the midnight launch of a console or video game could soon come to an end, and it all starts with some lucky Londoners.
On Tuesday, British catalog retailer Argos announced plans to deliver the Xbox One X exactly one minute after its midnight launch on November 7. The trial run, which covers customers living within a select area of London, could mean fans no longer needing to wait in the freezing cold to get their hands on a new machine before anyone else.
“The launch of the Xbox One X is a momentous occasion in the gaming calendar and fans have been waiting patiently in anticipation of its release,” Darren Frost, Fast Track Delivery lead at Argos, told MCV. “We’re delighted to offer a selected number of our customers the ultimate in convenience, with a delivery right to their doorstep just after midnight – making them the very first in the U.K. to get their hands on this coveted console.”
Midnight launches are a special aspect of gaming culture. It’s a chance for fans to mingle, chat, and socialize as they wait for the doors to open. This is particularly beneficial for people that live outside major cities, who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to go to conventions and meet like-minded followers.
“People entertain themselves and each other with stories, music, and chants,” Sam Prell, a games journalist at GamesRadar said in a 2015 story. “I still remember the line of patrons singing the Halo theme as we waited for Halo 2 - try to do that anywhere else, at any time other than a midnight launch.”
But Argos’s plan follows an ongoing trend in online retail to speed up deliveries and get products out faster. Amazon’s one-hour Prime delivery, which started earlier this year at $7.99 per order, was the latest step toward reducing brick-and-mortar’s advantage of handing a product over to a customer immediately. The demand is there for these super-quick sendouts: Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky described its new offering as “a service customers love.”
At 8 a.m. British Summer time on October 25, Argos’ Twitter account will release details of how customers can book one of the limited slots. These will only be offered to customers living within ticketing zones one to five on the London Underground tube map. Those that miss the chance will have the option of buying the console after launch with four-hour delivery priced at £3.95 ($5.22).