Analyst: Halo 3 sales to "quickly reach" $200M

Lazard Capital Markets' Colin Sebastian projects Bungie's shooter is on track for record-setting launch.

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On the day Halo 2 launched in 2004, then-Microsoft corporate VP of marketing and sales Peter Moore made the seemingly audacious claim that Bungie's shooter would gross $100 million within 24 hours. Rash as it seemed, the guesstimate turned out to be on the conservative side, as Microsoft quickly announced Bungie's shooter had sold a record-setting 2.38 million units worldwide on day one, generating some $125 million in revenue.

Zero to $200 million in less than 60 seconds!
Zero to $200 million in less than 60 seconds!

Those are tough numbers to follow, but Microsoft doesn't appear to be shying away from the challenge. Earlier this week, Brandweek magazine shed light on Microsoft's spare-no-expenses $10 million marketing blitz for the game. Thus far, the publishing giant has cracked its coffers on ventures including branded food items, an alternate reality game, as well as other swag giveaways including a car. Most recently, Microsoft has partnered with Target for a custom paint job on Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 40 car (pictured), to be featured during the Dover 400 Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway on September 23.

In a note to investors this week, Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian predicted Microsoft's efforts could help Bungie's franchise recapture the title of World's Fastest-Selling Game from Blizzard's World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. Tabulating preorders and estimated initial sales, Sebastian notes that sales for Halo 3 could "quickly reach" the $200 million sales milestone.

"We expect that significant preorders and broad consumer anticipation of Halo 3 will result in one of the largest and most successful product launches in digital entertainment," he said.

Sebastian also addressed the possibility of another Xbox 360 price reduction. Though last month's price cut, along with Halo 3, will significantly bolster the console's sales through the holidays, Sebastian believes the console's price will remain at its current level. However, he was unwilling to disregard the possibility of promotional offers designed to fully take advantage of the Halo 3 launch.

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