Halo sales hit 46 million

Microsoft parses statistics for its sci-fi shooter on eve of Halo 4 launch next week; more than 5 billion hours played on Xbox Live.

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The Halo franchise is one of Microsoft's crown jewels, and now the company has revealed just how lucrative the series has been. Since launch in 2001, gamers have purchased more than 46 million Halo games, driving nearly $3 billion in revenue, Microsoft announced today.

Microsoft went on to break down the launches of past entries in the franchise, stating first-day sales of Halo 2 hit $125 million, with Halo 3 notching $170 during its first day, and Halo: Reach besting that game with more than $200 million in sales during its first 24 hours.

Halo 4 is due out next week for Xbox 360. It is the first numbered entry in the series developed outside Bungie Studios, and Microsoft spent more money developing that game than any other title in the company's history.

In all, more than 5 billion hours of Halo have been played while connected to Xbox Live. The last official tally of Halo popularity came from Bungie earlier this year. The developer released an infographic revealing gamers had played 20 billion games and racked up more than 100,000,000,000 total kills across Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach.

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