Computer games specialist Game opened 14 stores at midnight across the UK so customers could pick up their pre-ordered Xbox 360s.
A spokeswoman at the retailer said: 'We haven't seen anything like this before, this is so phenomenal because it's not a staggered launch.'
The Microsoft console is in limited supply, with only 300,000 of the high-tech machines released throughout Europe.
The spokeswoman added: 'There won't be very many and we know that demand will exceed supply. We could have sold a whole lot more and it's frustrating. But it's the way the cookie crumbles.'
Gamers queued for up to nine hours - with almost all of the UK's supply of the console reserved - to get their hands on the coveted devices.
The shortage of the Xbox 360 has prompted frenzied activity on internet auction site eBay, with prices reaching double the retail value.