But faster than you can say "replay," Amazon.com cleared up the confusion, saying a computer glitch had mistakenly changed the shipping dates for people who preordered through Toysrus.com.
The gaming consoles--expected to be one of the season's hottest sellers--will be shipped Thursday, according to Patty Smith, a spokeswoman at Amazon.com. The e-tailer jointly operates the Toysrus.com Web site.
"Customers can rest assured that preordered consoles will be shipped to them on the release date as promised," Smith said Wednesday. She said Amazon is working to correct the glitch so the shipping information will be reflected properly on the Web site.
For hard-core game fans, the thought of waiting even a couple of extra days was enough to set off a small panic. People checking the status of their preordered Xboxes said that the shipping date, which was guaranteed to be Thursday, changed to as late as Saturday.
Message boards were jammed with notes about the delay and snippets of information gleaned from conversations with customer service representatives.
"No one ever said that there was a chance that someone might have to wait for a console," said Victor Montano, who was upset by news of the delay. "Toysrus.com said they would ship consoles that were ordered during the presales on the launch day. Period."
The eagerly awaited Microsoft consoles, competing this year with Nintendo's GameCube, have generated fanatic interest among gamers. Would-be buyers have jammed up Web sites in hopes of getting their hands on a console during a rare presale. The Xbox and GameCube, being released Thursday and Sunday, respectively, have been dribbled out in small quantities in the weeks leading up to the actual release.
Some buyers said they camped out in front of their PCs for hours to order an Xbox during a series of presales Toysrus.com held recently.