By now, virtually anyone with even a slight interest in games knows about Gears of War. In the midst of the PlayStation 3 and Wii launches, the Xbox 360 game has made many-a-headline, thanks to its widespread critical acclaim. It earned a 9.6 from GameSpot--tying the Xbox 360 edition of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as the site's highest-rated game of 2006. Epic Games' shooter also enjoys an impressive 95 metascore on Metacritic, which aggregates dozens of game-reviewers' ratings.
This week, Gears made news due to its popularity as well. Within hours of the shooter topping Halo 2 as the most-played game on Xbox Live, Microsoft announced that the game has sold more than 1 million units worldwide. The rapid pace at which Gears hit the milestone, just two weeks after its release, makes it the fastest-selling Xbox 360 game to date, besting such heavyweights as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Call of Duty 2.
Microsoft dropped some other statistics as well, saying "more than 850,000 unique gamers have engaged in 10 million [Gears of War] gameplay sessions while unlocking an impressive 7 million achievements." Since the game went on sale November 7, the rate of Xbox Live Gold subscriptions, which are required for online play, has increased more than 50 percent. According to Microsoft, the impressive subscription rate is because more than 85 percent of Gears players play one of the game's various multiplayer modes, which include full campaign co-op.