Recent reports have been telling entrepreneurs that video game sales are on the decline. But impressive sales reported for a single game, this week, could possibly turn that perception on its head.
Microsoft reported that Halo Reach generated $200 million in sales on Tuesday, its first day in the market. By comparison Halo 3 - the last game in the series - made more than $300 million, after seven days in the market. Given time, this title may surpass the first week sales record set by Grand Theft Auto IV. In its first wee of sales, Grand Theft Auto IV made approximately $500 million.
So, how did Halo Reach do so well? These first-day numbers are attributed to midnight pickup events, game pre-orders and game costs. The basic version of Halo Reach costs roughly $60, with special editions of the title priced at $80 and $250. Midnight pickup events are common for highly-anticipated games. Gamestop, one of the largest gaming retailers in the US, held midnight pickups in many locations.
More elaborate release events were held in cities like New York City, Seattle and London. At an event, held at Best Buy Theater in Times Square, several hundred fans were able to participate in a tournament. They were also treated to a surprise musical performance by Kid Cudi.
Additionally, in August, a copy of this game was leaked, via a free file sharing site. Microsoft responded quickly by threatening to disable the accounts of users caught playing the illegal copies.
Halo's nine-year history
Halo Reach is a prequel to the games in the main Halo series. The Halo series has sold more than 34 million copies in its nine-year history. The series has grossed nearly $2 billion in sales over its lifetime.
All the titles in the Halo series are in the style of a first-person shooter. The first-person shooter has been succinctly defined by MTV as, "The most popular form of console game, in which gamers see the world from the perspective of the main character, almost always with a gun bobbing in their hands before them..."
The Halo titles are made by a company called Bungie games. The company was founded by Alex Seropian and Jason Jones, and was eventually bought by Microsoft, in 2000.
Halo Reach is only for sale for the XBOX 360 console, which is also made by Microsoft. It is one of the three current consoles on the market. It has two direct competitors. The Wii, which is made by Nintendo, and the Playstation 3, which is made by Sony.
When compared to other recent, major releases for the XBOX 360, one can see how unusual these numbers truly are. Assuming that all games were sold at the base price of $60, Bioshock2, released in February of this year, sold 562,900 units, for an estimated $31.7 million in sales, in its first week. Assassin's Creed 2, released in November of 2009, sold 1.6 million units in its first week, for an esitimated $96 million in sales. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, also released in 2009, sold 4.7 million units its first week. Its first day sales were roughly $141 million, which was a record-setting day at the time.
Microsoft was not available for immediate comment.