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Microsoft’s ‘Halo 4′ Sets New Record

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Halo 4 (Credit: Microsoft)

By Julia Boorstin, CNBC.com

Microsoft's "Halo 4" sold $220 million worth of games in the first 24 hours. At $60 a pop, that's 3.7 million copies in just one day. That beats the record "Halo 3" set in 2007 of $170 million in first-day sales.

Microsoft said the first week of sales are on track to top $300 million, which is exactly what "Halo 3" did five years ago.

With those one-week sales numbers still coming in, Microsoft said that the latest game is on track to surpass its predecessors one-week global sales, but it's not able to say by exactly how much.

However, "Halo 4" is about to face a formidable rival: On Tuesday, Activision Blizzard launches a massive rival game—"Call of Duty: Black Ops II."

The big question is whether Microsoft can maintain the momentum of its first-day sales once gamers have an alternative. Plus, "Call of Duty" has a real advantage. Unlike "Halo," which is only available on Microsoft's Xbox console, "Call of Duty" is also available on Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii U.

Microsoft said that "Halo 4" puts the franchises' total sales at north of $3.38 billion. And the company hit some new milestones in terms of the number of players—nearly four million people played the game in the first five days, with users spending a total of 31.4 hours playing the game. Another stat: Microsoft said online content for the live action digital series, "Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn," has generated more than 46 million views so far.

The stakes are high for Microsoft. The game cost an estimated $40 million to produce, which is more than twice the industry average. And this is Microsoft's premier video game property. Before last week's launch more than 46 million games had sold, spawning branded products like action figures and books.

The game got off to a very strong start. We'll see how it delivers over the key holiday shopping season once it's up against the ninth installment of its blockbuster "Call of Duty" franchise.

© 2012 CNBC.com

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