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Xbox 360 mania slams Circuit City site

Internet sale of Microsoft's hotly anticipated video game console slows retailer's Web site on Friday.

The frenzy to land an Xbox 360 has begun.

Minutes after Microsoft's next-generation game console went on sale Friday afternoon at Circuit City's Web site, it was hobbled by a deluge of traffic.

A representative for the online counterpart to electronics retailer Circuit City said the company's site saw a "tremendous" traffic spike at 2 p.m. ET, when the company began taking Internet orders for the eagerly awaited Xbox. (Specific traffic numbers were not immediately available from Comscore, which tracks Web use.) Microsoft has predicted it will sell 3 million consoles within the first three months following the Xbox 360's release.

Other retailers had taken preorders for the Xbox, but Circuit City was the only online store selling the consoles Friday.

"The Web (store) did become slow for the majority of customers," acknowledged Amanda Tate, a Circuit City spokeswoman. She declined to specify how many Xboxes were sold or how many the company made available through its Web site.

Circuit City's Web site sold out of its available consoles in less than three hours, Tate said.

The Xbox goes on sale at brick-and-mortar stores at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Those customers who purchased a console from Circuit City's site will have to pay extra for shipping to receive the machine by Tuesday, Tate said.

Shoppers will likely be camping out in front of their local electronics stores and long lines are expected.