So, the day of all days is finally among us, it’s is almost the 26th of September and Halo 3 is going to be released. Not that myself or anyone else is waiting for it…
In a company update on Microsoft today, Goldman Sachs analysts Sarah Friar and Frederick Grieb predicted that Microsoft will have shipped a mighty 4.2 million copies of Halo 3 into the retail channel by the end of the month. That’s a big-enough launch shipment for more than a third of the Xbox 360’s 11.6 million global user base to pick up a copy.
The first quarter of Microsoft’s fiscal year ends just five days after Halo 3’s launch, and Friar and Grieb said the game will contribute about $170 million in revenue to the company’s entertainment and devices division, which would push it into “slight profitability” for the quarter. If that happens, it would be the first profitable quarter for Microsoft’s gaming segment since it launched the original Xbox.
So there are a lot of expectations on Halo 3. Make money and loads of it.
Retailers also recognised the potential in the past. Various retailers, especially in the UK have sold the game early accompanied with much hype on the internet. Unlike several other examples in which the streetdate for games had been broken in recent years, Microsoft did not appear to punish the retailers as much:
“From what I understand of it, it was an honest and genuine mistake. I’m disappointed that it happened because of the turmoil it creates, but I totally understand that in every organisation sometimes it’s tough to manage every particular aspect of your supply chain and everything, to the nth degree, so that something won’t go wrong at some point.”
Halo 3 has been [over?] hyped ever since the multiplayer beta which ran all the way back in May 2007 which really does seem like an eternity. It featured multiple gametypes, three maps, Matchmaking and online stat tracking.
There were 820,000 unique participants with more than 12 million hours of online H3 gameplay in its short test period, equivalent to more than 1,400 years of continuous play by one person. Also, Halo 3 was responsible for over 350 terabytes of data downloaded from LIVE.
So what is it’s appeal? For once Halo 2 was the most played game whilst connected to Xbox Live for over two years and was only beaten last November by Gears of War.
Halo 2 has a unique Matchmaking system which sees players being matched up with similar skilled players in ranked and unranked gametypes whereas most other games at the time just featured traditional lobbies which players had to manually find or get invited to. In addition, Halo 2 also featured the Custom Games option allowing players to change a variety of game settings and create a crazy amount of games, such as ‘Hide and Seek’ [All players bar one are invisible and are hiding on the map for one to find them] or ‘Run like Hell’ [Played on one of the bigger maps, several players are in a tank and others have to outrun them in other vehicles or on foot]. All of these options and many more including a limited map editor and online co operative play have been included in Halo 3.
As of late June 2006, MLG offers over $1,000,000 in cash prizes. MLG has signed leading four-man Halo 2 team, Final Boss to a $1 million contract, and Tsquared, one of the top individual pros in the MLG, to a $250,000 deal. On 18 December, 2006 MLG signed the members of Carbon and the other three members of Str8 Rippin to a $250,000 deal. MLG has signed the members of its top three teams to a $250,000 dollar deal. As of June 2007 13 players have 250K contracts with MLG.
All that helped to further Halo 2’s success and it has been hyped for months. Now that the day is finally here the only question that remains is can it live up to the hype?
I will be playing Halo 3 as of tonight, I am off to the midnight launch at GAME in a little while. Anyone interested in a game or two, just leave me a comment with your Gamertag. I don’t accept random Friend Requests. :)
Let’s Finish the Fight!