Halo 3 Sells More 360s? Xbox Live Traffic Seems To Say Otherwise

42 Comments

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.

42 Comments

Paul Kerton

Though your constant links from the BBC News site that you have been getting at GigaOM might be giving you hits and credibility, linking to a site like VGChartz, who are known to skew figures to suit their needs, then quietly changing them a few weeks later.

Fact is, sales week on week doubled when Halo 3 was released.

amo

well a mixed bag really. Halo 3 was ok, but having completed the game in a mere 9 1/2 hours (normal level) i was a bit pissed off. However, the online content more than extends the lifespan of halo 3, and having played many games online, halo 3 is totally fantastic!!!!

paul mccarthy

One thing when Gears of war came out the XBOX 360 was in its infancy and GOW was its first flagship title hence the reason the sales of xbox 360 was significant

As the 360 is fairly well established already now release of another flagship title isnt likely to increase the user base significantly due to the fact that a lot of people have allready got one

Robin

It’s a shame that, going by the comments, this blog seems to have been put on some “enemies” list by some thirteen year old Xbot on TeamXbox or GameFAQs.

Because for once WJA’s point is a valid one. It’s at least a plausible reading of the figures, considering the exact same thing happened with Halo 2. It sold to virtually all of the available fanbase but didn’t reach outside of that (driving hardware sales in any significant way) at all.

GTA, The Sims and Wii Sports are franchises that have played to a wider audience (and things like Gran Turismo/PGR/Forza, and the EA Sports franchises, have appealed to specific audiences outside of gaming). As great as Halo is, it doesn’t fulfil this kind of role, even when gifted with a conspicuous, Hollywood-style marketing push.

Wagner James Au

Vgchartz’s data holds up well against NPD (which is way less transparent and web-friendly with their research), and as stated above, Sandvine tracked total usage and unique users.

minnova

WJA – My only real disappointment in the article is that you are lacking sources. Your trying to show a lack of growth in the 360’s market share by quoting a broadband solutions provider. They only measure bandwidth usage, not console owners or the numbers of accounts on xbox live. And as far as sales, where does vgchartz get their data? You really need to learn to research better. Try actually going to and quoting more than one source for sales data.
Om – spend some bucks and buy some real sales data from some an actual respected market research firm like npd.com for example.

monal

name a ps3 game on the horizon that could do 300 million in sales in a week?? When Sony’s “superior” games finally come one day in the next decade at this rate we’ll be onto the next generation . Then again Sony did state the ps3 is on a “10 year plan” so I guess ps3 fans should be reassured.

Sohail Chaudhry

This article simply critiquing 360’s push to lead in the next-gen by market share. Why is everyone suddenly alleging it to be bias against Microsoft? That alone is a irrelevant claim.

$300m worth of sales in one week-shockingly impressive, yet, what will the 360 have to offer after this in comparison to the PS3? When Sony starts flexing its muscle [by releasing superior games], that status quo is what this article foreshadows.

Funny how all the commentators become pundits..

Nick

WJA – The first rules of holes is when you’re in one, quit digging.

gosubs

Shameless attempt by GigaOM to incite Halo fans to increase traffic to their web page to bring advertising dollars.

Wagner James Au

“senseless MSFT hate”

Skepticism is not at all the same as hate. As I mentioned last week, I was one of the first non-gamer writers to strongly praise MSFT’s Xbox initiative:

http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/08/29/xbox/index.html

And I’m a Halo fan, too, I still play the first game in multiplayer– look for me as “CnA-James” (yeah, ahem, I was even in a clan for awhile.)

But here’s the thing to understand: GigaOM.com is not a gamer blog. It’s a blog that tracks the business side of the Internet/tech industry. So writing for GigaOM, I’m really not interested in whether fans love Halo 3 (except as that buzz impacts overall market share, or in this case, apparently doesn’t), and I’m really not interested if most existing 360 owners bought a copy. I’m interested in how this game expands the 360’s market, how it affects the console market overall, and how it affects Microsoft’s position in that competition.

And once again, on those three questions, the available evidence so far leaves me deeply skeptical that it’s doing much of anything. Except consign the 360 to niche status.

ugh

@Kevin:
I really think James is really being made the scapegoat here and the real culprit is the uber-biased Om. I have already started hating this blog for the senseless MSFT hate — oh yes Om just wants the anti-msft crowd to read his blog — so be it.

He should realize that Techcrunch, for example, with all its weaknesses, is still VERY fair and hence the stellar growth of Techcrunch. Gigaom, will fade into dust if Om carries this Apple/Google propaganda! Moronish, at best!

Kevin

Obviously Xbox Live traffic is the definitive metric for Halo 3 selling Xboxes. Come on James, did you get this idea from a PS3 fanboy forum?

I really like the rest of the articles on GigaOm, but I can’t read it anymore. Just one of James’ rabid fanboy articles makes my blood boil.

Confessions of a Fashionista

The comments from the enraged Xbox junkies just made my day.

Peter

Wrong – sales did pick up!!!

Sales of the Xbox 360 in Japan trebled, in Australia doubled, and in the UK doubled the week Halo 3 was released.

No idea about the USA etc…

Keep up the good work, cough….

stressdesign

for whatever it’s worth, I’m another reader who bought the 360 for Halo 3 and have yet to connect the device to the network.

stressdesign

for whatever it’s worth, I’m another reader who bought the 360 for Halo 3 and have yet to connect the device to the network.

Ryan

The coverage of the xbox360 on this site is just childish. I don’t even play games and this stuff comes off as obvious trolling.

I’m unsubscribing from the RSS feed. I’ll check back in a few months to see if things have gotten any better.

ajadoniz

lol i can just imagine James typing away on Google for the following search, “‘xbox 360’, lags, sales, down, failure, defective, disappoint”

Brian Rinaldi

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.

Eric Atkins

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.

Nick

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.

Bryan Price

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.

darrenstuart

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.

Nomad

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

blah

@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.

monal

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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