"Halo 2" Makes Entertainment History as Global Anticipation Builds
Record-Shattering Preorders Set Tone for Holiday
REDMOND, Wash. -- Oct. 19, 2004 -- There hasn't been this much anticipation for an otherworldly touchdown since Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon. With three weeks to go before the game hits store shelves, pre-orders for "Halo? 2" -- the highly anticipated Xbox? exclusive from Microsoft Game Studios -- have eclipsed the 1.5 million mark in the United States. With phenomenal record-breaking video game pre-orders, "Halo 2" is poised to generate more revenue in 24 hours than day one sales of any full feature movie in entertainment history, including "Spider-man 2," "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and "Matrix: Reloaded."
In the U.S., the anticipation builds to a fever pitch on Nov. 9 when thousands of shoppers line up to be among the first to get their hands on the action-packed thriller. The first copy of "Halo 2" will be distributed at a Midnight Madness event at the largest Toys "R" Us in the world located in Times Square, New York. Toys "R" Us Times Square will open its doors at 12 midnight on November 9, and deliver the first retail copy of the game to a lucky fan.
"The original 'Halo' is still a top ten title three years after it hit shelves, and the buzz for the sequel is off the charts," said John Barbour, president, Toys "R" Us, U.S. "We can think of no more appropriate place to unveil 'Halo 2' than the site Xbox first launched--Toys "R" Us Times Square."
More than 6,500 U.S. participating retailers*- including Gamestop, EB Games, Best Buy, Gamecrazy, Game Rush, Circuit City, Kmart Super Center stores and FYE, will open their doors at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9 to allow for sales of "Halo 2," Xbox consoles and Xbox Live TM Starter Kits.
The global launch of "Halo 2" will also be marked by celebrations from November 9 through November 11 at more than 1,125 retail stores in cities around the world including London, Seoul, Toronto and Sydney. "Halo 2" will be translated into seven languages (Japanese, Korean, traditional Chinese, Spanish, French, German and Italian) and will be distributed in 27 countries.
"'Halo 2' is expected to be the biggest 24 hours for a video game title in retail history and is projected to bring in more revenue than any day one box office blockbuster movie in the United States," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide publishing and marketing for Xbox. "We call it the Halo 2 effect. We've even heard rumors of fan anticipation of the 'Halo 2 flu' on November 9."
"Halo 2," the follow up to the marquee Xbox title, "Halo: Combat Evolved," was selected for the Toys "R" Us Joy List as one of the expected top sellers this holiday season. "Halo 2" utilizes Xbox Live to redefine online play, delivering superior online multiplayer capabilities, which allow gamers to engage with or against friends from around the world in an effort to save humankind.
Developed exclusively for Xbox by Bungie Studios, part of Microsoft Game Studios, the original "Halo" has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and spawned a legion of powerful devotees who participate in competitions, tournaments and game nights.
About Toys "R" Us
Toys "R" Us is one of the leading specialty toy retailers in the world. Currently it sells merchandise through more than 1,200 stores, including 680 toy stores in the U.S. and 591 international toy stores, including licensed and franchise stores as well as through its Internet sites at www.toysrus.com, www.imaginarium.com and www.sportsrus.com. Babies "R" Us is the largest baby product specialty store chain in the world and a leader in the juvenile industry, and sells merchandise through 208 stores in the U.S. as well as on the Internet at www.babiesrus.com.
Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/) is the video game system from Microsoft that brings people together for the most exhilarating game and entertainment experiences. Xbox delivers an expansive collection of breakthrough games, powerful hardware and the unified Xbox Live online service. The tagline "it's good to play together" captures the spirit of Xbox as the social hub of the new digital entertainment lifestyle. Xbox is now available in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.
About Xbox Live
A new frontier in imagination and extraordinary interaction, no one else offers the richness of online gameplay found on Xbox Live. The world's only global online console games service, Xbox Live is continuously innovating to provide members with unparalleled experiences. This unique service unites gamers together in a dynamic community where they can experience the best online games, exclusive programming and continuous downloadable content. Xbox Live launched in the United States in November 2002 and is available in 24 countries. Please visit http://www.xbox.com/live for more information.
About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox video game system and the Windows? and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games/), including such franchises as "Age of Empires?," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon TM "; Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as "Halo," "Project Gotham Racing?" and "NFL Fever"; and Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN? network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "OutSmart?."
Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the "Marathon Trilogy" and the first two "Myth" games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Released in 2001, "Halo: Combat Evolved" has achieved phenomenal success on the Microsoft? Xbox video game system and is also available for the PC. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
*Please contact your local retailer for participating stores.
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