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The Xbox Mini Fridge is a mini-fridge product from Microsoft that copies the design of the Xbox Series X gaming console. Inspired by memes that compared the design of the console to a fridge in late 2019, the Xbox Mini Fridge was announced at E3 2021 in June, resulting in memes and viral discussion about the product. Upon release for preorders in October 2021, the scarcity of the item led to viral backlash from hopeful buyers online who blamed scalpers for the lack of stock.
Xbox Series X Parodies
On December 12th, 2019, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X, its next-gen console in its Xbox series, during The Game Awards 2019, announcing the upcoming release in late 2020 (premiere video shown below).
Starting on the same day, users on social media created memes that compared the console's rectangular design to various household appliances and other items, similar to the PS5 design parodies. Within the trend, multiple memes that compared the design of Xbox Series X to a fridge were created. On December 12th, 2019, YouTuber Troydan created one of the first memes to compare the design to a fridge, with his tweet gaining over 210 retweets and 2,800 likes (shown below, left). Later on the same day, Redditor xgamestv posted a photoshopped image of an Xbox Series X as a fridge (shown below, center), with the post gaining over 21,900 upvotes in the /r/pcmasterrace subreddit in six months.
Mini Fridge Announcement
On October 28th, 2020, Aaron Greenberg, general manager for Xbox Games Marketing at Microsoft, held a Twitter poll to scope public interest in buying an Xbox mini fridge. The tweet gained over 3,400 likes, with nearly 60 percent of poll participants replying that they would buy the fridge given the opportunity (tweet shown below, left).
On March 18th, 2021, Greenberg tweeted that Microsoft was giving away a limited amount of Xbox Series X / ZOA fridges to fans. In an additional tweet, Greenberg wrote that the company was testing the mini fridge market with the promotion (tweets shown below, center). On April 1st, 2021, Greenberg wrote that if Xbox managed to beat Skittles in Twitter's #BestOfTweets poll, Microsoft would put Xbox Series X mini fridges into production, adding a disclaimer that that was not an April Fools' joke (tweet shown below, right).
On June 13th, 2021, at E3 2021, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox mini fridge, with its exterior design virtually identical to an Xbox Series X console. The announcement video received over 1.6 million views on YouTube in one day. On Twitter, the announcement video gained over 926,000 views, 8,200 retweets and 41,100 likes in one day.
Release and Preorder Drama
The Xbox Mini Fridge was expected to go on sale on October 19th, 2021, with no hard set time for the expected drop, and the retailer Target being the exclusive retailer to carry it. On the day of preorders, many online were focused on the product preorder page spamming it until it would show the product as available. As the product went live shortly after 9 a.m. EST, it sold out in under 15 minutes, with reports from multiple people stating the item was removed from their cart mid-checkout process. There were then reports of the mini-fridge popping up on eBay for triple the MSRP as scalpers attempted to resell the rare item. This was noticed by Twitter user @TommoTheCabbit, who gained 80 likes in five hours with an image depicting resellers and the caption "And scalpers are already selling these Xbox mini fridges on eBay. Didn't take long. IT'S JUST A MINI FRIDGE" (shown below).
On the Target product page, those who attempted to preorder the fridge started to give it reviews and ask questions, with some of them being rants and a few being memes, similar to Steam User Reviews, such as the one posted by Target users OnlyGeysBuyXbox and Daddy6969420 (shown below).
Following the announcement, users on Twitter and other social media posted humorous posts about the product. For example, on June 13th, 2021, Twitter user @its_menieb posted a How It Started vs. How It's Going meme that gained over 280 retweets and 3,600 likes in one day (shown below, left). A same-day tweet by eSports player hungrybox received over 280 retweets and 3,600 likes in the same period (shown below, right).
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