Halo 3 Beta Ends Merchandising Begins

Halo 3 Beta Ends Merchandising Begins

The completion of the Halo 3 multiplayer beta marks the beginning to the countdown for the biggest XBox 360 event of 2007. A first for the acclaimed "Halo" franchise, the limited public beta was an overall success, seeing more than 820,000 unique participants and more than 12 million hours of online gameplay in its short test period, equivalent to more than 1,400 years of continuous play by one person.

Now that the beta has closed, consumers worldwide can gear up for the game's release with a variety of new merchandise, including two new Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers designed by Spawn and McFarlane Toys creator Todd McFarlane, as well as an Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset, which lets gamers talk with friends over Xbox LIVE. The controllers and headset will be available starting in early September and can be preordered at select retailers today, allowing Halo fans everywhere to prepare for the launch.

The Halo 3 beta, an early look at parts of the multiplayer gameplay of Halo 3, debuted to Xbox 360 owners worldwide via Xbox LIVE on May 16. The more than 820,000 users who played the beta resulted in more than 350 terabytes of data downloaded from Xbox LIVE, equivalent to more than 82 million digital music downloads from the Internet. Also telling was the players' response to an exciting new saved-film feature, which provided them with the ability to record their games and share them over Xbox LIVE with friends for the first time. The feature, which was unveiled in the beta, saw more than 580,000 saved films created by users, representing more than 2.7 terabytes of data. Because of the tremendous participation in the beta, Bungie now has an exhaustive amount of data that will be used to improve the overall game experience.

Fans looking to immerse themselves in the Halo universe before the game's epic launch this September will be able to dive into Halo through a variety of new merchandise and accessories:

- Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers. Two new Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers will be available starting Sept. 18 and can be preordered now at select retailers. Designed with original artwork by legendary Spawn artist Todd McFarlane, they will be available in either the Covenant Brute or Master Chief themes. Each controller will be packaged with a limited edition Halo 3 collectible figurine created by McFarlane Toys will sell for an estimated retail price 59.99 (U.S.).

- Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset. For the Halo 3 enthusiast who enjoys wireless mobility while playing with friends on Xbox LIVE, the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset will sport the Spartan green and gold and provide high-quality voice connections over Xbox LIVE for an estimated retail price of 59.99 (U.S.). Available in early September, this accessory can be preordered now at select retailers.

- Halo: Contact Harvest. Halo fans can look forward to the latest book in the Halo saga, Halo: Contact Harvest, published by Tor Books and due Oct. 2, 2007. Written by Joseph Staten, the Bungie Studios cinematic and writing lead for the first two Halo games, the newest piece of fiction precedes the current New York Times' best-selling book series, telling the tale of the first encounters between UNSC forces and the alien Covenant race that threatens to destroy all humanity. The trade paperback will cost 12.95 (U.S.).

- Marvel Comic miniseries. Bungie Studios has teamed up with Marvel Comics to release the monthly miniseries Halo: Uprising. The four-issue miniseries, featuring original storylines and artwork from the Eisner Award-winning team of superscribe Brian Michael Bendis and artist extraordinaire Alex Maleev, will launch with issue one on July 25, 2007 and cost 3.99 (U.S.) per issue.

- Zune-Halo 3 edition. Encased in collectible packaging, the Zune-Halo 3 edition digital media player comes preloaded with artwork, trailers and music from all three Halo games, as well as an exclusive new episode of Red vs. Blue from the fan-adored machinima creator Rooster Teeth Productions LLC. The Zune-Halo 3 edition will be available exclusively at GameStop starting June 15 for an estimated retail price of 249 (U.S.).