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Can Halo 3 Save XBOX 360?

by September 30, 2007
Master Gates

Master Gates

According to several news sources, Microsoft Corp's "Halo 3" video game set an opening-day U.S. sales record of $170 million, outdoing any video game or movie debut and giving the XBOX 360’s money-losing gaming console a strong boost toward profitability. “Halo 3" easily surpassed its predecessor, 2004's "Halo 2," which racked up $125 million on the first day. The $60 game also beat the $59 million U.S. opening-day movie box office record, set by "Spider-Man 3."

This game is also key to Microsoft's quest to widen its lead over rival Sony Corp in the battle for industry dominance of the current generation of game machines. Microsoft experienced a plunge of 60% in sales year over year in the fiscal forth quarter. Combine that with all of the recent reliability issues (nearly a 30% failure rate of their gaming consoles), causing Microsoft to extend the annual warranty to three years, and you can see how Halo 3 could be considered the saving grace for the XBOX 360. Not only are Xbox sales important to Microsoft in and of themselves, they're also key to the company's goal of becoming a leader in the broader home entertainment market.

Halo 3 Praise from Gamers & Reviewers Alike

Halo 3 has drawn wide praise from serious gamers and reviewers alike. Its cinematic storyline, breadth of features, and unparalleled playability makes it, in my opinion, the ultimate first person shooter of all time. The first two "Halo" games have sold a combined 15 million copies and cemented Microsoft as a serious player in a video game industry that was dominated by Sony's PlayStation 2. Sony's follow-up PlayStation 3 is more expensive than the Xbox 360 and so far lacks any "system-seller" games like "Halo 3."

However, "Halo 3" is targeted firmly at the Xbox's core male audience, for whom realistic combat games are a staple. It does little to widen the machine's appeal to a more casual, family friendly audience that is being courted with tremendous success by the likes of Nintendo Wii - currently the number one selling gaming console on the market.

XBOX Live – Like Never Before

Alien-shooting fans also surged onto Microsoft's Xbox Live online service. More than a million members took up virtual arms in "Halo 3" in the first 20 hours on September 25, the day the game debuted, Microsoft said on Wednesday. As confirmation of its popularity, I went online with my copy of Halo 3 this weekend and found over 580k people online playing at 12am midnight Friday. Thinking it would die down, I also checked it out at various times Saturday and Sunday and found a similar surge of people playing this game.

Setting up a quick slayer match where the computer finds opponents for you to challenge took no time. within minute, I engaged 9 other opponents (some very rude ones mind you) and it wasn’t until my 2nd or 3rd game that I found a few level headed players to break off into a private slayer team match competition. Never in my experience of online gaming have I found players so readily available.

Halo 3 Players Remorse?

Already on my 9th campaign of the game (loving the multi player co-op mode), I find myself wondering if Halo 3 players will be suffering withdrawal symptoms or players remorse once they complete the game since this is technically Halo’s final installment of the epic gaming trilogy. Surely Bungie Studios won’t leave us hanging, will they? With sales figures this high and a Halo movie on the way in 2009, it is doubtful. Bill Gates should be bowing to Master Chief for resurrecting their platform and creating a social online gaming network unlike any ever before it.

About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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