|Halo 4’s Master Chief congratulates Peter Gagnon of Seattle on being the first person to |
purchase the Xbox 360 game. Photograph: Stephen Brashear/Invision for Xbox
If you want to catch the largest-grossing entertainment launch of the year so far, you can forget about Skyfall – or, indeed, the cinema. Microsoft's Xbox 360 shooter videogame Halo 4 brought in $220m (£138m) within 24 hours of its launch on Tuesday.
The figure tops the record-breaking first-day cinema takings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two, which made $91m at the box office in its opening day in July 2011. (The new James Bond film Skyfall took $89m in its first weekend, from Friday to Saturday, this month.)
Developed by 343 Industries, Halo 4 is the latest title in the long-running console series and once again features muscular space marine Master Chief, this time battling an ancient alien force.
Microsoft expects it will bring in $300m worldwide in its first week on sale, making it the biggest launch in the history of the series, which has already shifted more than 46m units since the original title arrived in 2001. In the past week, fans have spent over 30m hours playing Halo 4.
It is unlikely, however, that Halo, which is only available on the Xbox 360 console, will hold on to the title of 2012's biggest entertainment release. Tuesday saw the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the latest in Activision's series of military shooters, which is also out on PC and PlayStation 3. Last year's instalment, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, made $400m in its first day and reached $775m by day five.
The rivalry between Halo 4 and Call of Duty is good news for games retailers. Worldwide, video game sales have fallen this year, with the UK's October figures down almost 30% on the same month last year. A good shoot-out between two of the biggest brands in gaming should help the market recover.