Today is the day many console gamers have been waiting for: Microsoft's much-hyped Xbox has finally hit the shelves.

On the streets the feedback is good, with some gamers queuing from midnight last night to get their hands on the first available models.

"The response has been fantastic — all our stock has nearly gone," said George Peacock, district manager at Electronics Boutique on Oxford Street.

But Microsoft is remaining tight-lipped as to how many Xboxes have been sold.

"You'll have to go to every dealer and ask them," said a staunchly unhelpful Microsoft spokeswoman.

The company would not even divulge how many pre-orders it had received, even though it must have an exact record of these figures.

Whether the Xbox will be successful in the long term cannot be predicted with any certainty, but so far the feeling is good.

"This is a really interesting year for the console market and you can be sure that, whatever Microsoft launches, it never does things by halves — I am sure this will guarantee its success," said Hamish Thomas, marketing manager at Currys Electronics.

Currys took 7,000 pre-orders, all of which it says have been shipped out in time, but it said it was not going to release exact figures on how many consoles had been sold.

"Any new product is going to be good for the market. The thing has only just launched but we can already see it has made a huge impact on the market," said Simon Winter, spokesman for HMV.

HMV's main London store was today packed with a gaggle of gamers eager to get a peak at what the Xbox has to offer.