'Halo 2' clears record $125 million in first day

Lofty figure backs up predictions that game would eclipse even the biggest Hollywood openings. Photos: The adventure begins

Microsoft beat even its own heady expectations for the hotly anticipated Xbox game "Halo 2," selling more than $125 million of the product its first day in stores.

The software giant on Wednesday reported sales of 2.38 million units for the game in the 24 hours since it went on sale in the United States and Canada at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

With the standard version of the game priced at $50 and the deluxe edition going for $55, the $125 million tally handily beat the $100 million first-day haul Microsoft Vice President Peter Moore predicted earlier in the week.

Moore told the Reuters news service that Microsoft's biggest challenge would be keeping enough units in stock. "There's no doubt in my mind there's going to be some store stockouts," he said.

Many fans waited in line for hours to get their hands on the sequel to "Halo," the Microsoft-published shooting game that helped establish the software giant's Xbox system as a legitimate contender in the video game industry.

"Halo 2" introduces online play to the franchise, and Microsoft is counting on the game to drive a surge in subscriptions for its Xbox Live online gaming service. "It's a great showcase title in terms of...exploiting the underlying power of Xbox and Xbox Live and really showing people what's possible." Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios, told CNET News.com.

The game's $125 million opening day lives up to Microsoft predictions that "Halo 2" would eclipse even the biggest Hollywood openings. "Spider-Man" holds the record for biggest opening weekend box office take, raking in a comparatively paltry $114 million over three days.

Thieves briefly cast a shadow over the "Halo 2" launch last month, when a stolen French copy of the game began appearing on file-swapping sites. Microsoft quickly cracked down on distribution of the pirated copy, however, and the theft appeared to have no impact on retail demand.

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