In less than three weeks, Halo Wars has gone platinum. This morning, Microsoft announced that the real-time strategy spin-off of its sci-fi shooter phenomenon had sold--not shipped--more than 1 million copies worldwide. Available in both regular and limited editions, the T-for-Teen game launched on February 26 in Asia, February 27 in Europe, and March 3 in North America.
Halo Wars' success came in spite of a lukewarm reception from critics. Little wonder, then, that Microsoft was eager to play up its popularity with the masses, courtesy of a statistics site. To date, more than 2.6 million multiplayer matches have been played, totaling more than 118 years of game time. The software giant also announced that an average of 200,000 people play the game daily.
Today's announcement must be bittersweet for the former employees of Ensemble Studios. Halo Wars was the Microsoft-owned shop's final project, closing out a 14-year run that saw it launch the acclaimed Age of Empires RTS series and its fantastical sibling, Age of Mythology.
At the recent DICE Summit in Las Vegas, Ensemble cofounder Bruce Shelley was honored during the 11th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. During an earlier presentation, he reflected on his shop's rise and fall, the latter of which he attributed partly to overexpansion to work on several canceled projects. One of the stillborn games is rumored to have been a massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Halo Universe.