GALLERY: Xbox One frenzy - The Midnight launch

For many, the wait had lasted for months. But as the clock struck midnight and the doors swung open to computer stores up and down the country, it was an early Christmas for the thousands of avid gamers who finally got their hands on the Xbox One.

GALLERY: Xbox One frenzy - The Midnight launch

Customer queue up for the new X-Box One outside Game in the Telford Shopping Centre.

Leicester Square in London was transformed into a sea of thousands of people for the hotly-anticipated launch of the console, while queues formed at gaming stores across the region.

In Walsall, Game in Park Street opened its doors especially to start selling the console at midnight.

A queue of keen gamers began to form before the doors swung open. Sales assistants at the store said it was extremely busy and around 100 shoppers bought the new Xbox One.

And the shop was open early again this morning at 7.30am to pick up where it left off.

In Wolverhampton, The Wulfrun Centre opened its doors at 10pm to allow the first queues of people to form outside Game store inside. Coffee Moments even opened specially to serve the waiting gamers with much-needed caffeine.

More than 250 people - ranging from gaming fanatics to loved-up couples and parents desperate to get their hands on consoles for their children - huddled around the entertainment store before workers finally delivered the countdown to hand over the pre-ordered consoles - the next gaming product released by Microsoft since the Xbox 360.

The next generation console costs £429, but gamers queuing up last night had receipts showing payments of up to £900 for bundles which included Kinect sensors, seven games, extra controllers and online memberships.

Game store manager Rick Meek said more than 500 consoles had been pre-ordered from the store, with about 250 being collected last night before the remaining were picked up.

“I’ve been here for 10 years, but this is what it is all about,” he said.

“You can feel the excitement from people, they cannot wait to get their hands on the Xbox One and take part in the fun.”

Rachel Foster, aged 21, from Wolverhampton, queued up with 24-year-old boyfriend Liam Sargeant, after splashing out on it for him as a gift, while Roy Gough picked up his console - after using £250 from a £8,000 loan taken out with his fiancee Claire Barlow for their wedding in Jamaica next year. 

The 26-year-old civil servant who lives in Prestwood Road in Wednesfield then had to save up the rest of the cash to meet the £560 cost of his bundle.
“I got given permission to take the money - it’s only a small amount in the scheme of it all,” he said.

“I can’t cancel on her now after she let me do this. The wedding is definitely going to happen.

“She has just got used to me playing games for many years now. She knew it meant a lot.”

First to get the console from the store was traffic warden Dean Startin, aged 21, of Park Lane in Wednesbury.

After pre-ordering the console in June, he was quick to pre-purchase it on Wednesday morning to ensure his place at the front of the queue. 

He spent £900 on his bundle.

“I’ve taken two weeks off work for this - it’s just me and the Xbox One for a while now,” he said.

Check out our review of the new console her:

By Alex Ross
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