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The Economics of Halo

Economics of the HALO video game franchise

If you think a Halo is only something that floats above an angel’'s head, you’'re officially out of the loop when it comes to the world of video games.

That’s because the video game Halo is a true phenomenon, spawning everything from novels and movies to top-selling soundtrack albums. And with the release this year of the latest addition to the game series, Halo: Reach, the video game only cemented its hold on the attention spans of video gamers across the globe.

If you’re not familiar with Halo, here’s a nutshell explanation: Video game company Bungie created Halo, releasing the first installment of the game in 2001. The three main Halo titles focus on the adventures of a character known only as Master Chief. This super-soldier, along with the help of an artificial intelligence companion, helps humanity survive by battling the Covenant, an alliance of evil alien races.

It sounds simple, but the game’s' advanced graphics and gameplay have made Halo a smash hit.

Don’t believe us? Just check out some of the numbers in the infographic attached to this story.

Prequel Continues Huge Sales

Microsoft Game Studios released the latest version of the game, a prequel titled Halo: Reach, in September of 2010. To say that the gaming public was eager for the latest edition would be a huge understatement.

This latest version of Halo sold 3.3 million units in September. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the game ranked as the hottest-selling title of the month.

This is far, though, from the only success story associated with the Halo series. Just about anything with the name Halo on it has gone on to become a huge success.

Success in Many Forms

The Halo franchise is now a big business. It is arguably the king of the video-gaming world.

The game has spawned a series of print novels. We like to criticize avid gamers for not making many trips to their local libraries or bookstores. But someone is reading these Halo novels, and it’s probably not your third-grade English teacher. The books have become fixtures on the New York Times’ list of best-selling novels.

And that’s just the start of Halo’s success story. The series has even sent a soundtrack, released in 2007, to the Billboard 200. The soundtrack peaked at number 18 on Billboard’s list of top-selling soundtracks.

You know what they say: If you can’t dance to the beats of the Halo soundtrack, you must be dead.

Video Game Royalty

But it’s in the world of video games where Halo has truly made its lasting mark. Since debuting in 2001, gamers have purchased more than 34 million copies of Halo games. Gamers connected to their Xbox Live feature have logged more than 3.3 billion hours of multiplayer combat.

And Halo 3 still ranks as the best-selling Xbox 360 video game of all time.

Halo 2, the first sequel, pulled in $125 million worth of sales in its first day on the market in November of 2004. That set an all-time record for opening-day sales of any video game.

See what we mean by big business? The success of the Halo franchise proves that with a bit of creativity, helped along by excellent gameplay and visuals, video games can generate small fortunes for their parent companies.

So next time you see your kids spending hours glued to a video game, don’t be too hard on them. They might be on the verge of creating the next Halo.


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