Halo 3 Biggest Entertainment Release in History

Microsoft has announced that first day sales of the long-anticipated video game Halo 3 exceeded $170,000,000–making its release the most lucrative entertainment release in history.

Confirming the expectations of many industry pundits, Microsoft announced today that its flagship Xbox 360 shooter Halo 3 had the biggest entertainment launch in history, generating a record-breaking $170m in the United States on its Tuesday debut.

Halo 3’s launch day sales total eclipses prior record-holder Spider-Man 3, which produced $151m in revenue over its opening weekend in May 2007. Retailing at between $59.99 and $129.99, depending on how many extra gewgaws you like to get with your games, one sale of Halo 3 generates considerably more revenue than a movie ticket, making direct comparisons problematic. Microsoft isn’t letting that stop them, though — especially since Spider-Man’s numbers represent three days of sales next to Halo’s one.

If you assume that the average price paid for a copy of Halo 3 is $60, that represents close to 3 million units sold on the first day, which is definitely impressive by any stretch of the imagination. Personally, I’ve never played any of the Halo games (nor do I own an XBox, for that matter), but I definitely can’t knock Microsoft’s and Bungee’s achievement here. That’s just impressive.

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Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. MichaelB says:

    It’s probably somewhat fewer copies sold the first day. $60 is the minimum the sell for, with special editions at $70 and a whopping $130. I’d bet that the kind of fans who buy the special $130 edition are more likely to pick it up the first day!

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    MichaelB – I’m sure that there were quite a few purchases of the special editions. That said, we’re still probably looking at over 2 million sold on the first day.

  3. MikeT says:

    The last number I saw thrown out there was 3.5M preorders of the game. I’m about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through it now, and it’s an amazing game. Microsoft won’t have trouble selling at least another several million copies. I would be surprised if the game doesn’t reach at least 7-8M copies sold over the next few months.

    Microsoft will also stand to gain from this based on the sheer number of people who will go out and get XBox Live accounts and other things like that. A lot of people may end up buying the console for this because the multiplayer in Halo 3 is a very good way for a group of guys to have fun.