Global Entertainment Phenomenon "Halo 3" Recores More Than $300 Million In First-Week Sales Worldwide

LONDON, 4th October 2007— Interactive entertainment will never be the same, with the launch of one title that has changed the way the world thinks about video games.“Halo® 3” has captured the attention of consumers worldwide and has made history as one of the biggest entertainment launches of all time.

Microsoft Corp. today announced that“Halo 3” has officially become a global phenomenon, garnering more than $300 million in sales in the first week alone. The critically acclaimed Xbox 360® exclusive, which was released in Europe on Wednesday 26th September, is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

Initial reports from retailers worldwide show console sales have more than doubled compared with the weekly average before the launch of“Halo 3.” With games like“Halo 3,”“BioShock,”“Mass Effect” and“Project Gotham Racing 4,” Xbox 360 has the greatest line-up in the history of video games and the only console where consumers can play all of the year’s biggest blockbusters.

“‘Halo’ is truly a cultural phenomenon, and the launch of‘Halo 3’ is an important milestone for Xbox 360 and for video games as entertainment and as an art form,” said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft.“‘Halo 3’ embodies our vision for the future of entertainment, where some of the world’s greatest creative minds will deliver a new generation of interactive storytelling.”

“Halo 3” is quickly staking its place as the most popular Xbox LIVE® game in history with members gathering in record numbers to play on the world’s largest online gaming and entertainment network on TV. More than 2.7 million gamers have played“Halo 3” on Xbox LIVE in the first week, representing nearly one-third of the 7 million Xbox LIVE members worldwide. Within the first day of its launch,“Halo 3” players worldwide racked up more than 3.6 million hours of online gameplay, which increased more than elevenfold to 40 million hours by the end of the first week, representing more than 4,500 years of continuous gameplay. Since“Halo 3 launched,” gamers have unlocked nearly 30 million achievements. In its first week alone,“Halo 3” drove a record number of Xbox LIVE Gold Memberships as hundreds of thousands of new members gathered online with friends, family members and other gamers around the world to collectively compete and complete the game.

“Halo 3” is the conclusion to the epic trilogy and picks up where“Halo 2” left off, answering questions about 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. In addition to the rich storyline,“Halo 3” continues the franchise’s grand tradition of delivering innovative online multiplayer experiences via Xbox LIVE. The game’s online multiplayer and innovative four-player cooperative gameplay for Xbox LIVE Gold users, the much-talked-about Saved Films feature that enables players to capture and save their favourite moments on their hard drives, and Forge, an innovative map editor that enables myriad customization options, are just some of the new features gamers are experiencing.

Developed by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, the“Halo” franchise is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and optimized for the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network.“Halo 3” was released in 37 countries and 17 languages. To date, more than 20 million copies of the games in the“Halo” trilogy have been sold worldwide.

Record week-one sales come on the heels of the previously announced $170 million in sales in the U.S. within the first 24 hours of the game’s release, which marked not just the biggest video game launch, but the biggest entertainment launch in history. The Xbox 360 title beat previous U.S. sales records set by blockbuster openings for entertainment events such as the release of“Spider-Man 3” and“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” In addition, more than 1.7 million copies of“Halo 3” were pre-ordered in the United States, making it the fastest pre-selling game in history, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-sales of“Halo 2.”

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About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 will have a portfolio of more than 300 games and will be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Xbox LIVE

Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favourite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

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®.”

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 14.8 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.“Halo 3,” the final instalment in Bungie’s epic“Halo” trilogy, released on Sept. 25 to critical acclaim and record-setting sales. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq“MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, press only:

Kate Szlendak/ 0118 909 5334/ v-kaszle@microsoft.com


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