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Summary:

The pipes don’t lie. Last week, after the ballyhooed release of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, I expressed deep skepticism that the game would do much for the 360’s fortunes. Of course it would sell well with existing 360 owners, but would it help Microsoft […]

LOL HaloThe pipes don’t lie. Last week, after the ballyhooed release of Halo 3 for the Xbox 360, I expressed deep skepticism that the game would do much for the 360’s fortunes. Of course it would sell well with existing 360 owners, but would it help Microsoft (MSFT) regain the lead in the next-gen console race, as they hoped it would?

My skepticism deepened even further after Om sent me a fascinating press release from broadband solutions provider Sandvine. Because the thing is, while Halo 3 has already sold several million copies, how many of those players are people who just bought the 360, to play the final installment of the series? Sandvine sampled the traffic of Xbox Live, and while that increased 100 percent to 200 percent after the game went on sale, “The number of hosts (gamers) remained unchanged from before Halo 3’s release,” the release read, “implying that existing Xbox Live gamers most likely accounted for the additional bandwidth consumption, as opposed to new gamers.” (emphasis mine.)

So did that mean there was no discernible uptick of new Xbox 360 owners after Halo 3 went on sale?


“We cannot draw the direct conclusion,” Sandvine’s Tanieu Tan wrote when I emailed him that question. “We do not track the number of consoles or whether the number of hosts are new or existing hosts. However, the data can suggest that the additional Xbox Live bandwidth usage can be attributed to existing users since we did not see an increase in the number of users. This was not the case when we looked at bandwidth and hosts after the release of Gears of War, which seemed to cause an increase in users as well as bandwidth.” Gears of War was last year’s 360 hit. “On a qualitative assessment, perhaps, this is the result of Halo 3 being part of the Halo series, thus appealing to existing Halo players,” Tan wrote.

Then again, maybe that just means new 360 owners are still on the single-player campaign, which doesn’t require logging into Xbox Live. Maybe, but most reviewers say the campaign only takes between 10 and 15 hours to complete. On the hardware tracking side, VGChartz reports a slight rise in 360 sales, but not much.

In any case, after weeks of rumors, the official news is in: Microsoft and Halo creator Bungie are more or less parting ways. Even hardcore 360 gamers seem to be recovering from their drunken bout of unquestioning Halo love. How do I know? Because right now, one of the most popular viral
videos is a foul-mouthed but hilarious anti-Halo 3 rant — perfect viewing after you’ve left the office for the weekend.

Image credit: Halo 3.com. LOL Halo embellishment by WJA.

  1. Funny u forgot to mention the 1 week 300million dollars in sales Halo3 just pulled off. There is alot of speculation in this article without drawing or making any substantial conclusions. I’m not sure whats the point????

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  2. @Monal:
    No point, just the anti-MSFT propaganda that Om has influenced his entire team to spread. F*ck I might as well stop coming here!

    Biased GOOG/AAPL ass-licking morons.

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  3. who do u think u are sighting xbox360 sales saying they went up but not by much vghcarz be damned what does vgchartz know? this is real business you are talking about not a guessing game. xbox360 sales were amazing in my hometown the eve of halo launch and I know they were good all over

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  4. the point of this post is?

    xbox live is without a doubt the best online gaming service out of any of the games consoles and new users will not have got into it straight away. They are most likely moving onto other games like you do when you have a new console.

    If these players were not already halo players why would they jump online to play the mp. I have to say I am going to play it when the hype has died down and I am not even interested in the MP. COD4 MP is where it is at.

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  5. This household has just acquired an Xbox 360.

    This box has yet to connect to any network. I don’t feel like running wire to the TV room, and I don’t feel like paying $100 for a wireless connection, especially compared to the fact that Wii and PS3 have WiFi already built in. I can’t say that I’m surprised.

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  6. This article is so poor I don’t even know where to start. Seriously, Om, this needs to stop.

    Ignoring the obvious of Halo 3’s sales, looking at the metric of Xbox Live for increased market share for the console itself is pretty foolish. Instead of looking at new console sales and asking the question, despite the massive sales of the game, you didn’t think to ask the tough question as to why. Now that would have made a better article.

    Instead, this reads like a substandard technology blog with a writer who can’t muster together coherent thoughts.

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  7. I agree with DarrenStuart. Chances are, most people who bought and play Halo 3 are existing fans….not new 360 gamers.

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  8. If you wrote this kind of article about other pieces of technology bundled with straw-man points, then GigaOM would be a terrible blog to read.

    I’m surprised you haven’t been advised to stop writing about XBOX 360 not selling more consoles than the Wii.

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  9. Really though…stop hatin.

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  10. You guys post the most pointless and poorly thought out anti-MSFT crap. It’s like that part of your brain that hates Microsoft only has a few active cells to generate your rant. Seriously, even you make the point in your article that nothing you say here proves a damn thing.

    Where are your articles on how the much ballyhooed Lair fell flat on the PS3? Or how Home is a non-entity? Nowhere, because your coverage on this topic is so vlatantly based and lacking in any shred of credibility.

    Give it a rest already.

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