‘Halo 4’ grosses $220 million-plus but can’t beat ‘Call of Duty’

Fans at a launch event for "Halo 4," which enjoyed $220 million of first day sales.
(Stephen Brashear / Associated Press)

The video game industry got a much needed bonus last Tuesday as “Halo 4” players around the world spent more than $220 million on the heavily marketed sequel.

That’s the highest ever first day gross for Microsoft Corp.'s blockbuster science-fiction/action franchise. 2010’s “Halo Reach,” the previous record holder, enjoyed a $200-million “opening day.”

Microsoft did not report how many “Halo 4” units it sold on launch day, but based on the game’s U.S. retail price of between $60 and $100, the total is more than 2.2 million.


The overall record for the most sales revenue by a video game on its opening day is held by “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” which debuted to $400 million last year.

The newest “Call of Duty” sequel, “Black Ops 2,” hits stores on Tuesday and could smash even that record.

“Halo 4” is playable only on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, however, while “Call of Duty” games are also available for Sony’s Playstation 3, making comparisons difficult.

The sequel’s success allows Microsoft executives to breathe easier, as it’s the first “Halo” game not produced by series creator Bungie Studios. Previously owned by Microsoft, Bungie spun out in 2007 and is now working on a new game franchise code-named “Marathon.” The first entry is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2013.

“Halo 4” was made by 343 Industries, an in-house production studio that Microsoft formed after losing Bungie.

Micrososft projected that “Halo 4” will generate more than $300 million of sales in its first week.

More than 4 million people played the game in its first five days, devoting more than 31.4 million hours (some copies of “Halo 4” may have been played by multiple people).

Microsoft also said that episodes of a companion live action series it produced, titled “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn,” have been viewed more than 46 million times online.


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