Video game enthusiasts in the United States plunked down about US$170 million on copies of "Halo 3'' in the United States alone in the 24 hours after the Xbox 360 game went on sale, making it the biggest launch in entertainment history, according to Microsoft Corp. Wednesday.
Industry analysts had pegged the number somewhere in the range of US$150 million. International numbers have yet to be released, but the exciting sales figures for the US may indicate the number could easily reach US$300 million.
"'Halo 3' has become a pop-culture phenomenon,'' Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, said in a statement.
The game, which was developed by Microsoft-owned Bungie Studios, completes the saga of helmet-clad Master Chief and his quest to save humankind from aliens.
Fans pre-ordered more than 1.7 million copies of the game, and more than 10,000 stores opened at midnight Monday to start selling, according to Microsoft. The much-anticipated launch was marred only slightly by reports that limited-edition packaging left scratches on game disks.
"The initial demand we've seen for 'Halo 3' has been astounding,'' Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at Best Buy, said in a statement.
A character from the Microsoft Xbox video-game, Halo 3, stands watch over a line of people waiting to be some of the first to purchase their copy, at a electronics store in Bellevue Washington, September 25, 2007. (Reuters photo)
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, right, hands over an autographed copy of Halo 3 to the first customer Ritesh David, 17, of Bellevue, Wash., at the midnight release of Halo 3 video game for the Microsoft Corp. Xbox 360 at the Best Buy store in Bellevue, Wash., September 25, 2007. (AP photo)
(Associated Press September 28, 2007)