A story in the Seattle Times that features a few surprising comments on the Xbox and Xbox Live Arcade has been making the rounds today. To get to the bottom of some of the article's more head-scratching assertions, GameSpot contacted a Microsoft representative for clarification.
To wit, the story's report that more than 1 million presales have been recorded for Halo 2 is "premature and speculative," said the Microsoft rep. Official numbers have preorders for the highly anticipated sequel at 750,000 units.
Whether or not this constitutes "the highest presale in the history of video games" is also disputed. Some reports put preorders for 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City at more than 4 million, but Microsoft asserts that to its knowledge, the title "did not presell more than 1 [million] units." The discrepancy probably arises from the two different definitions of "preorder." One definition involves retailers' orders, while the other involves customers whose money has been put down in advance of a game's release.
Finally, the final paragraphs of the piece note that downloadable titles for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade service will cost between "$10 and $20 each." At first glance, this struck GameSpot editors as a rather high price to pay for classic arcade game downloads like Dig Dug. Was this information "speculative" as well? No, said a Microsoft rep. "We have announced an introductory pricing range from $9.99 for basic games to $19.99 for more fully featured titles."