Microsoft said late Wednesday that the game's sales easily surpassed first day sales for Halo 2, which previously held the record. Halo 2 launched in 2004 and posted $125 million in sales on its first day.
Halo 3, which hit shelved on Tuesday, also broke industry records for pre-sales. Retailers took more than 1.7 million pre-orders for the game, which runs on Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. More than one million gamers played the game
Microsoft is hoping that Halo 3 will boost demand for the Xbox 360, sales of which plunged 60% year-over-year in the fiscal fourth quarter. Not only are Xbox sales important to Microsoft in and of themselves, they're also key to the company's goal of becoming a leader in the broader, home entertainment market.
Microsoft envisions the Xbox as a platform through which consumers can play games, watch movies, listen to music and download paid content.
Halo 3 is a so-called first person shooter featuring Master Chief, a biologically enhanced super-soldier who has to blast his way through a futuristic, 3-D landscape to survive and accomplish missions. He's countered at every turn by a shadowy terrorist group called The Covenant.
Despite the sales records, Microsoft's Halo 3 launch was not without problems. The company conceded that the packaging on the $70.00 Limited Edition of the game can scratch the discs inside. Microsoft has added Halo 3 Limited Edition to a disc replacement program it started after some Xbox 360 buyers complained that the units were scratching their game discs.