Halo’s astounding numbers

In the 4.5 billion years the earth has been around, about 108 billion humans have walked its surface. In the 11 years Halo has been around, a small subset of those humans have killed each other more than 136 billion times.

As Bungie says goodbye to the franchise that brought it fame and fortune, the game developer has released some statistics detailing the dedication of its massive fan base. And the numbers are staggering.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Analysis: What Long-Term Impact Could COD: Elite bring?

Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris examines Activision’s move to bring a subscription option toCall of Duty players, and how the decision could hint at a wider subscription strategy at the publisher.

So now it’s official. The long-awaited (and, in some cases, long-feared) subscription service for Call of Duty is a reality. And while players pore through the previews and press release to determine exactly what Elite entails, I’m finding it a lot more interesting to look further down the road.

Make no mistake, Elite is a bold move by Activision – and one that could ultimately change the way the industry operates when it comes to user communities and digital add-ons.

Read more at Gamasutra

Game companies line up to aid Japan

As recovery efforts continue in Japan after a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and accompanying tsunami, the video game industry is rallying to aid in the relief.

Some publishers are reaching into their own pockets to donate, while others — along with select members of the development community — are leveraging their customer base to raise money.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Halo: Reach launches first expansion pack

“Halo: Reach” players are getting some more maps.

The “Halo: Reach” Defiant Map Pack goes live today, with two new multiplayer maps, a firefight mission and new achievements letting players earn up to 150 Microsoft Points.

Read more (and learn how to win free codes) at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Next up from Halo makers: An online world

After ten years of creating and exploring the Halo universe, ace developer Bungie Entertainment is ready to build a new world — and it’s apparently going to be a mighty big one.

The developer has confirmed that its next project will be a massively-multiplayer online action game. While the company is still keeping most of the details shrouded in secrecy, Bungie’s lead network engineer David Aldridge told game makers at the Game Developer Conference that the title would not simply be “[World of Warcraft] in space.”

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Halo: Reach players have been very, VERY busy

In less than four days, “Halo: Reach” made an enormous impact on Xbox Live. 

Bungie Studios has put out a roundup of some “Reach” statistics from the first week of play. And if you thought that $200 million in sales in the first 24 hours was impressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet…

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Review: Halo: Reach

Prequels rarely resonate with audiences – regardless of the medium. So when Bungie Studios decided to make its last “Halo” game a prequel, there was some cause for concern.

Thankfully, those fears were misplaced. While the final chapter of “Halo: Reach” is something well known to any fan of the franchise, the game itself is perhaps the best in “Halo’s” nine-year history. And it’s a fitting sendoff for the developer, who is responsible for creating and growing one of the biggest series in the video game industry.

Read more at Daily Variety

Things to keep in mind as Halo: Reach hits shelves

The holiday season kicks off tonight for gamers. At 12:01am, “Halo Reach,” the first blockbuster of the fall/winter goes on sale. It will lead the charge of a densely packed 3.5-month period of major game releases that will determine how 2010 turns out for the video game industry. 

Now, normally, you wait for sales numbers before calling a release a blockbuster – but when you’re dealing with a new action-based “Halo” game, you can skip the formality. The franchise has sold over 34 million copies and consumed 3.3 billion hours of gameplay (that’s over 376,000 years, if you’re keeping score at home) since its launch with the original Xbox.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Microsoft Braces for a Blockbuster With Halo Reach

When “Halo: Reach” goes on sale at 12:01 am Tuesday morning, it won’t just be the biggest gaming event of the year to date. It will likely be the entertainment industry’s biggest moment of the year.

Microsoft is betting big on the latest installment of its flagship franchise, and it has every reason to do so. Life to date, the company has sold more than 34 million ‘Halo’ games – and each major new release has shattered any Day One sales records set by the film, music or gaming industries.

Read more at CNBC.com

Activision – and the power of digital

All in all, it was a mixed financial quarter for the folks at Activision. Earnings per share were higher than expected, but revenue fell short – which was somewhat shocking for a company that has a reputation for always meeting or beating the guidance it gives investors. The real story of yesterday’s earnings announcement, though, was the force that digital downloads have become for the company.

For the first time, Activsion’s revenue from digital sales topped that of retail sales, as “Modern Warfare 2” continued to flex is muscles.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog