Starting tonight “Halo 3,” the final chapter of Microsoft Corp’s epic video game trilogy, finally goes on sale around the world. By the end of the week, fans in 37 countries will be playing the game Wired magazine recently called “a cultural touchstone, a Star Wars for the thumb stick generation.
In the United States, more than 10,000 retailers across the country are opening their doors at midnight tonight solely to sell copies of the game and accompanying Xbox 360 consoles and accessories. With nary a pirate, a spider or a wand in sight, day-one sales of the highly anticipated video game are expected to shatter entertainment sales records and top the biggest entertainment launches of all time.
“The excitement and demand for â€˜Halo 3â€™ has transcended a typical video game release and weâ€™re preparing dedicated registers for its midnight release in our 24-hour stores,” said Darin Dickson, video game merchandise buyer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “Itâ€™s clear that this is one of the most anticipated games of the year and that 12:01 am Sept. 25 will be a memorable moment for thousands of gamers.”
The conclusion of “Halo 2” left unanswered questions around the fates of the beloved protagonist Master Chief and his artificial intelligence sidekick Cortana as they struggle to save humankind from destruction at the hands of the alien coalition known as the Covenant. The legions of dedicated fans lining the streets tonight are waiting for the chance to be among the first to own the coveted final chapter in the “Halo” trilogy and unearth the well-kept secrets of the storyline.
“Our customers have been waiting for â€˜Halo 3â€™ since the day after â€˜Halo 2â€™ launched in 2004,” said Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at Best Buy. “â€˜Halo 3â€™ is going to bring the experience to new levels, and we are excited to help our customers get the best possible game playing experience.”
Developed by Bungie Studios, the â€œHaloâ€ franchise is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and optimized for the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. The more than 7 million Xbox LIVE users will get a continually evolving gaming experience with â€œHalo 3â€ and its online multiplayer and cooperative gameplay for Xbox LIVE Gold users, the much-talked-about Saved Films feature that enables players to capture and save their favorite moments on their hard drives, and Forge, an innovative map editor that enables infinite customization options.
“With â€˜Halo 3,â€™ Bungie Studios has further mastered the art of marrying fantastic gameplay with the intangibles that make the experience extraordinary for gamers, evoking incredible emotion through its story and character development,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. â€œThat emotion is at the heart of what makes this more than a game and why â€˜Haloâ€™ connects with its audience in the way other great stories like â€˜Star Warsâ€™ resonated with theirs. But unlike the static experiences of a great film or novel, â€˜Halo 3â€™ offers a dynamic and social interactive entertainment experience that enables players to finish the fight themselves.”
Regional Marquee Events and Global Celebration
More than 10,000 retailers are planning events and opening their doors at midnight to celebrate this third installment in the billion-dollar franchise. In New York, Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles, Microsoft and retail partners are hosting marquee launch events that will feature contests and appearances by local celebrities and celebrities and professional athletes who are fanatical about the â€œHaloâ€ franchise.
The marquee launch events will be held at the following stores:
Â· New York: Best Buy, 529 5th Ave, New York, N.Y. 10017
Â· Seattle: Best Buy, 457 120th Ave NE, Bellevue, Wash. 98005
Â· Los Angeles: GameStop, 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Universal City, Calif. 91608
Â· Miami: Circuit City, 8575 Northwest 13th Terrace, Miami, Fla. 33126
A list of retail outlets opening at 12:01 a.m. can be found at http://www.xbox.com/unitetofight.
More than 1.5 million copies of â€œHalo 3â€ have been sold before a single store opens its doors at midnight, making this the fasting pre-selling game in history, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-sales of â€œHalo 2.â€ Well beyond just a U.S. phenomenon, the launch of â€œHalo 3â€ is a worldwide celebration that is releasing in 37 countries and available in 17 languages.
Made exclusively for Xbox 360, â€œHalo 3â€ will be made available in three versions: Standard Edition at $59.99 (U.S. ERP*), Limited Edition for $69.99 (U.S. ERP*), and the ultimate collectorâ€™s item, the Legendary Edition at $129.99 (U.S. ERP*). The Legendary Edition will be released in limited quantities and arrive in a highly collectible Spartan helmet case, along with two bonus discs full of exclusive content. The Limited Edition will ship in a sleek metal collectorâ€™s case and include the first bonus disc found in the Legendary Edition, as well as a special â€œHaloâ€ fiction and art book. And for those who crave nothing more than the highly anticipated third chapter to one of the greatest gaming trilogies of all time, the Standard Edition will consist of the â€œHalo 3â€ game.
In November 2004 the worldâ€™s view of video games changed forever with the release of â€œHalo 2,â€ which generated a record-setting $125 million (U.S.) in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the most-played game on Microsoftâ€™s Xbox LIVE online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged to date.
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