Microsoft wants to make sure that you'll be able to walk into a shop and buy an Xbox One on launch day, as opposed to just relying on pre-orders, eBay or good-old fashioned waiting.
Corporate VP Phil Spencer told Game Informer that they're keen to provide high street and supermarket retail with plenty of stock on November 22nd. “You want people to be able to walk in the store and buy one on day one, so you’re trying to manage the inventory that isn’t pre-sold," he said. "It’s not a yield problem, it’s us trying to manage the hardware side.
“I want parents who don’t think about pre-ordering electronics to be able to walk in and have a chance to find a box. There might be a line, but I don’t want it to be that if you didn’t pre-order in September, you can’t get one. That doesn’t feel like a great consumer experience.
“Availability should feel a lot better than it did for 360. If people want to pick up more controllers and games, they’ll be there. We feel really good about our pre-order number, and we’re managing it through allocation rather than demand. [Pre-order] isn’t the business. It’s way more important to me what happens when people walk in the store. The business is selling consoles.”
Microsoft is also manufacturing a limited number of extra Day One Edition consoles and making them available to retailers, though "limited" seems to be the operative word here.
As DivideByZero says in the comments, though, promising that a new console won't sell out is perhaps not the most encouraging sign either... - Jonathan