Halo 4 Day-One Sales Hit $220 Million, Outselling Box Office Titans

Microsoft has just confirmed that Halo 4, its big first-person shooter of the year, has racked up $220 million in sales during its first 24 hours on sale worldwide.

That beats box office releases this year like “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and the “The Avengers” — based on day-one sales in the U.S.

It has been five years since the release of the wildly popular Halo 3 and 11 since the first Halo game exploded on the scene. Microsoft says that, in all, the franchise has now generated more than $3.38 billion, making it “one of the most popular entertainment franchises in the world.” Halo 4, which is sold exclusively on Microsoft’s Xbox, went on sale last week for $60.

Another videogame that can claim blockbuster status is Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. Its latest release, Black Ops II, comes out tomorrow and is shaping up to be “the biggest Call of Duty game ever.” Its last release, Modern Warfare 3, surpassed $1 billion in sales faster than the blockbuster movie “Avatar.” The game, of course, runs across all three of the major consoles, giving it substantially greater reach.

Metacritic, which aggregates videogame reviews from various game publications, gave Microsoft’s Halo an impressively high score of 91 based on 37 reviews. Metacritic has not yet rated the new Call of Duty.

Based on the first 24 hours of sales, Microsoft says Halo 4 is on track to reach $300 million in global sales during week one, making it the biggest Halo launch in history. It also said the game shattered the record for the largest number of players in history, with more than four million players in the first five days. Users spent a total of 31.4 million hours playing Halo 4, pushing the total number of gameplay hours across the franchise past the five billion mark.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus