REDMOND, Wash. — June 13, 2007 — The countdown has begun for the biggest entertainment event of 2007 with the close of Bungie Studios’ massively successful “Halo® 3” multiplayer beta. A first for the acclaimed “Halo” franchise, the limited public beta was an overwhelming success, seeing more than 820,000 unique participants and more than 12 million hours of online gameplay in its short test period, equivalent to more than 1,400 years of continuous play by one person.
The “Halo 3” beta provided over 820,000 gamers a preview of multiplayer gameplay and other exciting features that will be available in the final version of the game, launching Sept. 25.
Now that the beta has closed, consumers worldwide can gear up for the game’s release with a variety of new merchandise, including two new Xbox 360™ Limited Edition “Halo 3” Wireless Controllers designed by Spawn and McFarlane Toys creator Todd McFarlane, as well as an Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 3” Wireless Headset, which lets gamers talk with friends over Xbox LIVE®. The controllers and headset will be available starting in early September and can be preordered at select retailers today, allowing “Halo” fans everywhere to prepare for the launch of this year’s biggest game.
“The participation in the ‘Halo 3’ beta was staggering,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Witnessing such a great reaction to a small portion of the game has been inspiring. It’s a testament to the fervor and anticipation that surrounds ‘Halo 3.’ We’re confident that on Sept. 25 Halo 3 will drive an unprecedented wave of new gamers to the Xbox 360 platform and Xbox LIVE.”
The “Halo 3” beta, an early look at parts of the multiplayer gameplay of “Halo 3,” debuted to Xbox 360 owners worldwide via Xbox LIVE on May 16. The more than 820,000 users who played the beta resulted in more than 350 terabytes of data downloaded from Xbox LIVE, equivalent to more than 82 million digital music downloads from the Internet.* Also telling was the players’ response to an exciting new saved-film feature, which provided them with the unprecedented ability to record their games and share them over Xbox LIVE with friends for the first time on Xbox 360. The feature, which was unveiled in the beta, saw more than 580,000 saved films created by users, representing more than 2.7 terabytes of data. Because of the tremendous participation in the beta, Bungie now has an exhaustive amount of data that will be used to improve the overall game experience.
Fans looking to immerse themselves in the “Halo” universe before the game’s epic launch this September will be able to dive into “Halo” through a variety of new merchandise and accessories:
Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 3” Wireless Controllers. Two new Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers will be available starting Sept. 18 and can be preordered today at select retailers. Designed with original artwork by legendary Spawn artist Todd McFarlane, they will be available in either the Covenant Brute or Master Chief themes. Each controller will be packaged with a limited edition “Halo 3” collectible figurine created by McFarlane Toys will sell for an estimated retail price $59.99 (U.S.).
Xbox 360 Limited Edition “Halo 3” Wireless Headset. For the “Halo 3” enthusiast who enjoys wireless mobility while playing with friends on Xbox LIVE, the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset will sport the Spartan green and gold and provide high-quality voice connections over Xbox LIVE for an estimated retail price of $59.99 (U.S.). Available in early September, this accessory can be preordered today at select retailers.
“Halo: Contact Harvest.” “Halo” fans can look forward to the latest book in the “Halo” saga, “Halo: Contact Harvest,” published by Tor Books and due Oct. 2, 2007. Written by Joseph Staten, the Bungie Studios cinematic and writing lead for the first two “Halo” games, the newest piece of fiction precedes the current New York Times’ best-selling book series, telling the tale of the first encounters between UNSC forces and the alien Covenant race that threatens to destroy all humanity. The trade paperback will cost $12.95 (U.S.).
Marvel Comic miniseries. Bungie Studios has teamed up with Marvel Comics to release the monthly miniseries “Halo: Uprising.” The four-issue miniseries, featuring original storylines and artwork from the Eisner Award-winning team of superscribe Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev, will launch with issue one on July 25, 2007 and cost $3.99 (U.S.) per issue.
Zune™-Halo 3 edition. Encased in collectible packaging, the Zune-Halo 3 edition digital media player comes preloaded with artwork, trailers and music from all three “Halo” games, as well as an exclusive new episode of “Red vs. Blue” from the fan-adored machinima creator Rooster Teeth Productions LLC. The Zune-Halo 3 edition will be available exclusively at GameStop starting June 15 for an estimated retail price of $249 (U.S.).
About Bungie Studios
Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon Trilogy” and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.7 million units worldwide, logging nearly 1 billion hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE, and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel and more. Bungie is currently at work on “Halo 3,” which represents the third chapter in this “Halo” trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.
About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online
platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport®”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft® Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.