Thursday, September 27, 2007
'Halo 3': Record-smashing button mashing
It's certainly not a surprise, but it is official. "Halo 3" is a hit.

In fact, it's a hit on such a massive scale, it defied the expectations of the industry.

According to Microsoft, "Halo 3" racked up $170 million in sales in the United States alone in its first day of release, making it the biggest launch in entertainment history. Industry analysts had pegged the number somewhere in the range of $150 million. According to my contacts at the company, the figures reflect the sales of the game only.

International numbers have yet to be released, but if the sales figures for the U.S. are any indicator, they're going to be huge. Factor in the international exchange rate and that number could easily reach $300 million.

Let me remind you, we're talking about just one day's sales.

To put things in perspective, this summer's blockbuster "Spider-Man 3" grossed $151 million in its first three days in theaters. Though official numbers haven't been released, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" sold 6.9 million copies in its first day on book shelves. Literary industry analysts have pegged that number close to $160 million.

It's important to mention that Microsoft released three different versions of the game, priced at three different levels -- ranging from a basic version priced at $59.99 all the way to a "legendary edition" priced at $129.99.

Now, there's obviously a great difference between the cost of a movie ticket and a video game, but there's clearly an audience out there willing to spend the money. In fact, you can probably make a fairly accurate assumption that a good number of those people who stood in line to get their hands on a copy of "Halo 3" had another late-night earlier this summer to catch a midnight screening of "Spider-Man 3," too.

As someone who covers gaming for CNN.com, I always find it kind of curious when mainstream entertainment media refer to video games, despite it being a billion dollar industry, as catering to a niche audience.

If you can sell $170 million worth of anything -- I'd say that's a pretty big niche.
Well put Matt...I think for many gamers, the Halo 3 release can be likened to the anticipation felt by our parents when the finale of the original Star Wars trilogy was released. Entertainment events like these only come around once in a while…it’s fun to be a part of it!
omfg best game ever x box has taken the leed over ps3 with this game alone.
I like how different stories always bring up the price difference in movie tickets vs game price. How much time do you spend watching the movie? Two, maybe three hours. How much time is the video game going to get played? Hours on end...already I've played mine for a good 15-20 hours in the first week alone. At $60 for the game, that's about $2/hour of entertainment for me, in one week. For a movie ticket at $9, a three hour movie is $3/hour for entertainment. Now, which is more expensive? Also, why don't reviewers or reporters bring up the rich science fiction storyline in this game? The story rivals that of Star Wars...
The phone goes *ring*ring* and i say HALO? That's how super sweeeet this games. I just wish they had more of the limited edition halo 3 mountain dew game fuel so i can play for days on end. The mountain dew game fuel is a vital part of the blood stream gaming body system.
Wow, I just have to make a game that takes no skill, a generic story and kindergarten level controls, and I can make millions in just a day. Gaylo is a game that is only fun to people who are either not gamers, or who don't want to think that hard for anything let alone gaming. Since the second applies to 95% of all people, out comes Halo 3 and you have a week of only smart people going to work and saving $60.
Unbelievable game, superb sci-fi story. I can't stop playing, I didn't sleep or eat last night!! Somebody's gotta make a movie out of this.
Great game, though a little short on campaign. Worth the money no matter how many mental midget losers knock it. They're just frustrated from their continual lack of a dating life anyway.
halo 3 is pretty fun, but if you have ps3, try warhawk, it is amazing as well. ps3 will be ok once all the games finally come out. halo 3 is worth the buy, warhawk for ps3 is better online.
I haven't played Halo yet but everyone's talking about it, even my teachers are talking about it. I own a Wii, so I guess I won't be playing this 'Game' anytime soon.

Not that that's a problem considering Halo 1 and 2 failed to entertain me. I mean, where's the challenge? Shoot, shoot, shoot some more??? I mean, damn, go to Iraq if that's what you wanna do but the Iranian parliament might designate you as a terrorist, not that you care you don't plan on giving back to society, you just want to play Halo 3, remember? 15-20 hours $2/per hour, yeah what a bargain only downside is a horrible social life, obesity, and virginity.

Thanks for your time.
So will CNN execs FINALLY put games under the Entertainment catagory of CNN.com, or will games stay in Tech?
I must disagree with the commenter who referred to Halo as "Gaylo." I have been a gamer all my life, and at the same time I'm someone who appreciates good literature and considers themselves reasonably intelligent. The Halo games are dotted with biblical and literary references, and while the game's storyline is typical sci-fi fare, there's still a level of depth to it. I, personally, enjoyed Halo 3 more than any game I've played in the past few months. It's funny that someone can make such a childish insult, and at the same time accuse people who play Halo of being unintelligent.
Wow someone from Mountain Dew's PR firm already posted a comment. nice, but hey Dew people, the game fuel doesn't taste nearly as good as the original. Just make a different color can next time, that's all we'd want... also, will note that the 170 million is only for the one biggest game, the only game really that makes people buy Xbox instead of PS3 or Wii, and that the rest of the video game world is definitely still a niche market. Standing for two hours in line to receive my copy, I can verify yes there was only one narrow but very important demographic represented.
First of all, to the guy who was talking about we who play shooters needing to go to Iraq? Iran and Iraq are in fact different places. Before you start bashing people who play video games get your facts straight. And the fact that you want to call us fat, lonely, and without a sex life? Uhm...okay...if we want to slap each other about some...You are a Wii owner. Shall we talk about the number of drunk people who have destroyed their TV's and hurt themselves because of how stupidly drunk they get and then are unable to hold onto that goofy little controller? Yeah...Wii owners are slick.

I'm sure your up there with the brainiacs who don't think women play video games either.

But I digress.

Halo has become a way of life, much like the WOW players have taken over and Evercrack did. It's time gamers got the credit they deserve, and perhaps the mass amount of money this game has garnered in a few days will wake people up to just how many people play, and what an impact this industry has.
to the commenter who called halo "gaylo" -- you did a poor job of backing up your case since any self-respecting smart person knows the word "gay" is not a synonym for "stupid."
ironically these comments confirm my belief that gaming is dead -- i am a gamer who went into retirement after i realized 99.99% of the games today aren't worth my time or money. no magic, no imagination, no storytelling, no gameplay -- just eyecandy and point and shoot. dumbed down gaming for a dumbed down nation. if these games were so much fun to play, why would gamers spend so much time in silly ragwars about other consoles? just pick one and try to have fun--there is more to life. but if you're so bored that you must extend the lifestyle to debating irrelevant things like which console is better, then find something better to do. get some exercise or something. no wonder americans are fat.
""Unbelievable game, superb sci-fi story. I can't stop playing, I didn't sleep or eat last night!! Somebody's gotta make a movie out of this. Posted By Anonymous : Sat Sep 29, 10:43:00 AM EDT ET""

-Actually, Peter Jackson (Director of Lord of the Rings) is set to direct the Halo movie, due out in 2009! You can check Peter Jackson's IMDB profile to confirm.
The $170 Million is just for the game sales. How many people bought Xbox 360 consoles because of Halo 3? I did and at least 2 other parents I know. My son's expression was better than I see on Christmas morning!
And there's another thing that you didn't take into account in your blog. Anyone can go to the movie theater and buy a ticket for Spiderman 3, anyone can buy the Harry Potter book, but only 360 owners can buy this game, so that in itself it an amazing achievement. Because when you compare THE WHOLE WORLD vs. 360 OWNERS, 360 OWNERS are a minute percentage of the world population, but even so, a game exclusive for the 360, shattered the previous record for entertainment. Cheers
Halo 3 is why god created video games. There is no game out there that can compete with this game. It is fun at any skill level. It isn't just mindless carnage like most shooters. You employ teamwork and an assortment of strategies to compete with people of your own skill level like no other game in the history of gaming. I've been playing shooters since Doom 2 and this is by far the best shooter ever made. My hats off to Bungie for taking there time and putting in the extra hours to make this game as balanced and as fun as possible. To you XBOX haters; good luck with that. Sony doesn't stand a chance now.
Someone I work with recently purchased the game, and beat it in 3 evenings...but this is the best game ever? I agree that games (for any console) lack creativity and imagination.

I think if anyone is using their noodle, you'll realize there is much more to life than video games. Get off of the couch...
Please know something about the game or gaming in general before making yourself look stupid like some of these comments. Sure some can get carried away with playing it. But that's true with about anything.
QUOTE: "Halo 3 is why god created video games. There is no game out there that can compete with this game. It is fun at any skill level. It isn't just mindless carnage like most shooters. You employ teamwork and an assortment of strategies to compete with people of your own skill level like no other game in the history of gaming."

Sorry Matt, but while Halo 3 MIGHT employ strategy and teamwork, Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield & Athena Sword will ALWAYS outdo Halo in the tactics stake, and my friends and I still break this out on the PC during LAN sessions.

I would be curious to see how the Console version of each Halo game would have stood up if it had been released simultaneously with a PC version (utilizing full graphical and processing advantages of the PC's ability)
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