Master Chief reports: Halo sells 50M units... and counting

Halo was first released in 2001 for the Xbox, and has racked up some impressive numbers over the succeeding 11 years.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Microsoft said 50 million Halo units have been sold since the franchise's launch in 2001, and that gamers have spent over 5 billion hours playing the title on Xbox Live. Microsoft reported these figures in a press email release announcing a Halo challenge tournament, although the relevant section isn't available online. We've included it below.

Although Microsoft didn't say how many Halo 4 units have sold since that game's launch last month, the company did report in October that at that time, total Halo franchise unit sales reached 46 million. Given that, it appears Halo 4 unit sales are four million so far.

Halo 4 is one of the most popular titles in the franchise. During its first 24 hours on store shelves, the game generated $220 million, making it the franchise's most successful launch yet. Halo 4 is the first installment in a new trilogy being developed by Microsoft-owned 343 Industries. The franchise's first trilogy was developed by Halo creator Bungie Studios. To break free from Microsoft -- its former owner -- Bungie agreed to give up the franchise to Microsoft.

With Halo now firmly under 343 Industries' control, the development house is looking to the future. In an interview with gaming site CVG today, the franchise's development director Frank O'Connor said that 343 is already directing some of its people to start working on the next Halo.

"A lot of people at 343 are already prototyping ideas and software and art for future Halo products," O'Connor told CVG.

Here's the relevant section of that Microsoft press release:

About "Halo"

The "Halo" franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original "Halo: Combat Evolved" (2001), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games has since inspired multiple New York Times bestselling novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more.

Published by Microsoft Studios, the "Halo" franchise of games is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. To date, more than 50 million copies of "Halo" games have been sold worldwide, driving more than 5 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox LIVE.