While I’m writing these lines there are 36,956 players online in Halo 3, but in the last 24 hours more than 1,165,795 gamers have logged in on Xbox Live to snipe each other, simply dwarfing the number of remaining Halo 2 enthusiasts.
Bungie.net has the latest estimates about how many people have bought Halo 3 and logged in on Xbox Live and yes, it’s that impressive: 386,627,584 enemies killed in action (KIA) in the UNSC Campaign as of this moment and more to come by the time you click on that link. Microsoft had already announced that Halo 2’s record of 1.5 million pre-orders has been equaled and considering the massive hype around the third and last installment in the Halo franchise we should expect Halo 3 to crash all records established for a media product’s launch. Until September 25, Halo 2 was the record holder in that domain, with sales of more than $125 million in a single day (November 9, 2004, the day it debuted). Bungie’s estimates indicate that in the last 24h a number of 1,186,678 unique Halo 3 players have joined the company’s servers.
Microsoft’s $10 million advertising campaign for Halo 3 seems to show some palpable results, as the first information about first day sales emerge. According to Filefront, those 1.5 million preorders plus the 300,000 copies sold in the first 8 hours since launch meant more than 1.8 million copies of Halo 3 reaching Xbox 360 owners’ hands. For the entire day of September 25, estimates boldly indicate that 950,000 have been sold through retail channels, bringing the total amount of Halo 3 copies to 2.45 million- just a bit less than Blizzard’s jaw-dropping performance with The Burning Crusade (the expansion pack for World of Warcraft launched this winter), which sold 2.7 million copies in the first day.
Considering that Microsoft sells its craved Xbox 360 exclusive title in three flavors and that the average price is $78.00, the Redmond behemoth and Bungie are currently richer with at least $191.1 million.
Of course, without official confirmation, this news has to be taken with a grain of salt, but don’t expect the Halo 3 hype to fade away that easy. Despite the fact that Halo 3 is the end of the Halo first person shooter saga, a real time strategy game for Xbox 360- inspired by the fight between the Convenant and the human race- is currently in the works at Ensemble Studios. And don’t forget the future PC port of the game, which will surely come as a Windows (Vista perhaps) exclusive, probably three years from now…