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Halo 3 tops $300 million in one week of sales

I like the Halo series: it’s a decent first person shooter game with a better than average story.  I played the original Halo on the PC and Halo 2 on the XBox.  I haven’t bought Halo 3 for the XBox 360, but I probably will someday soon.  I’d probably rate both of the first two Halos at somewhere between 7 and 8 out of 10.  Good solid games, nothing earth-shattering, but fun.

But I just have to shake my head in stunned disbelief at the sales stats for Halo 3.  It was released on September 25th.  Over $170 million dollars in Halo 3 sales were racked up in the first 24 hours…over $300 million in the first week.  Over three million Halo 3 players are logging in to play the game on line each day. 

Those numbers are pretty staggering to me.  I remember when computer games were considered a niche industry: now we have single games that generate more revenue in a single day than triple A movies.   I’m guessing that Halo 3 might top a billion in sales over the next year…for a single game, on a single platform (Halo 3 is currently an XBox 360 exclusive). 

I was doubtful when I first heard that Halo 3 was expected by some to push huge volumes of XBox 360 sales.  Now I’m not so sure- if 5 million people bought Halo 3 in the first week, some of those have to be buying the game console to go with it.  Heck, there were only 11 million or so XBox 360s out there before Halo 3 shipped. 

An interesting side note: the company that developed Halo 3, Bungee, has parted ways with Microsoft.  They were a wholly-owned subsidiary of MS since 2000.  Apparently, the separation was on good terms, Microsoft retains an equity stake in Bungee as well as rights both to future Halo releases and right of first refusal for any new titles Bungee may develop.  Some folks even believe this split is good news for both Microsoft and Bungee.   Bungee apparently wanted more creative freedom, and the rumour is that Halo 3 is the last Halo they want to make.

[tags]halo, halo 3, sales, xbox 360, bungee[/tags]

2 comments to Halo 3 tops $300 million in one week of sales

  • I can see games falling prey to the same ills of the movies as well … less and less workaday releases and fewer and fewer risks as everything is aimed at getting the “summer blockbuster”

    And then even those big releases becoming more formulaic and poorly edited.

    I am not one of those that looks down on commercial art, indeed, I think most of the best things ever done were done for commission … but I do feel that there may be a point at which economics gets in the way of artistry.

    Anyway, when are you going to set things up so we can Battlefield 2 together? 😉

  • Games have already succumbed to those ills: that’s one of the reasons why games like Halo 3 and Civilization 4 exist.

    But it’s kind of hard to see which came first- the blockbuster game, or the complexity and development cost that demands a blockbuster. High resolution “photo realistic” graphics, professional voice acting, glorious sound tracks…those things can’t be done in a garage by a couple of geeks. So costs went up: a triple-A game title now costs in the tens of millions to produce. And of course, that means it has to make even more tens of millions in order to break even once you add in distribution costs, advertising, and the like.

    Regarding BF2- I had a server up and running for a while, but haven’t kept it going. I’ll give it some thought in order to hook up with you, though 🙂

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