Halo: Reach pulls in big numbers, big technical flaw

The final installment of the Xbox 360’s blockbuster Halo series has become the fastest-selling in franchise history. Reaching $200 million in sales in just 24 hours, it has attained the second highest launch sales of any video game.

The release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 managed to generate a mind-numbing $310 million in one day when it launched last year. By comparison, Halo 3 reached $170 million just a couple years earlier. At that time it was the highest-grossing launch for any entertainment product ever in the US.

So Halo: Reach falls in line with some pretty good company. Despite having far less fanfare than Halo 3, it will put a huge bang to the end of the series as fans know it.

That is, if a smattering of problems doesn’t overshadow the high sales. Owners of Microsoft’s new 4 GB Xbox 360 are plagued with an error message if they try to launch Halo: Reach’s multiplayer cooperative mode. The 4 GB console was just recently launched and was probably not thoroughly tested in the development of the new Halo game.

Microsoft has confirmed that there is a problem and it is working swiftly to resolve it, but so far there has been no fix.

As for the future of Halo…

Few people knew about a little development company called Bungie when it put Halo on the original Xbox. As a strong Microsoft property, Bungie has gone on to create a consistently high-ranked and top-selling series of first-person shooters for the Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms.

But it’s getting a little big to be contained by just one console, so Bungie will be branching away from its Microsoft exclusivity, going for financial independence as a multi-platform developer. Microsoft will only maintain the rights to some of its assets, like the “Halo” name.

But characters, game engines, artwork, and pretty much everything else can now foreseeably appear on the PS3, Wii, or handheld systems.