Stock levels of Microsoft's Xbox console appear to have plummeted across the UK in recent weeks, with some retailers running extremely low on stock and others even selling out completely.

Online retailer currently have no stock of any Xbox consoles, and the "buy button" has simply been removed, instead of giving customers the option to order and wait for new stock to arrive. Only "used and new" consoles being sold by other customers via their Amazon Marketplace - some of which are asking prices massively higher than recommended retail price.

Meanwhile catalogue retailer Argos is claiming "Xbox stock is currently very limited", with no home delivery orders being taken and any remaining consoles scattered across their high street stores. Other retailers have told GamesPaper today that they don't expect to receive more stock for around 16 to 18 days, interestingly just in time for mid-March and the Fourth anniversary of Xbox in the UK.

Speaking about the stock level situation, a Microsoft spokesperson told GamesPaper "We're aware that consumer demand is currently outstripping supply in the market and we're working hard with our partners to address this situation and ensure that we're helping them in all ways we can".

It's unclear if huge demand for the machine is simply more than the rate at which consoles can be supplied to retail, or if the somewhat likely situation of a new Xbox console release is imminent for March, and is the reason why existing stock levels have run down low to make way for a new model - similar to Sony's PlayStation 2 before they launched the slimline machine back in November.

Last month a Silver slim PS2 was revealed by Argos, before being quickly pulled from their website and flatly denied by Sony Europe. Despite the denial it's highly likely that a rival offering from Sony will be confirmed if Microsoft announce a limited edition Xbox as has happened in previous years with the Crystal Clear and translucent Green models.

Could Microsoft be preparing for the launch of a Slimline Xbox in a few weeks time?

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