REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the countdown continues for the entertainment event of the year -- the launch of "Halo(R) 3" -- the video game continues to set records and establish new precedents for an entertainment launch. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced that preorders in North America for the exclusive Xbox 360(TM) title have exceeded the 1 million milestone. In addition, Microsoft unveiled the first exciting details of upcoming promotions from leading consumer brands, including Mountain Dew, 7-Eleven, Pontiac, Comcast and Burger King Corp. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO ) In a strategy utilized in other big entertainment launches, retailers around the world have begun taking preorders, enabling consumers to order one of the three versions of "Halo 3": Standard Edition, Limited Edition and the ultra-collectible Legendary Edition. In fact, demand has been so strong for the Legendary Edition of the game that it is expected to be sold out by the time the game launches on Sept. 25. Retailers have also noted that the presales for "Halo 3" are the fastest in video game history. "What we've experienced is nothing short of phenomenal," said Bob McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp. "'Halo 3' has eclipsed many previous records and will prove to be one of the must-have items of 2007." "The excitement for 'Halo 3' is incredible," said Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at Best Buy. "From our preorders online and the buzz we're hearing in our stores, we know this release is going to be one of the biggest entertainment events of the year. We're thrilled to be able to bring it to our customers." For the first time in video game history and on par with the scope of major movie releases, some of the world's biggest consumer brands have aligned to support the launch. Many plan to offer a variety of promotions that give consumers the opportunity to obtain unique "Halo 3"-branded products and prizes and participate in one-of-a-kind "Halo 3"-themed events. "This September, 'Halo 3' will push video game entertainment into the forefront of mainstream culture," said Chris Di Cesare, director of creative marketing at Microsoft. "Teaming up with some of the world's strongest and most recognizable brands is trailblazing new paths and cementing video games as big entertainment on par with major event films, and is a testament to the excitement and anticipation intrinsically linked to 'Halo 3.'" Mountain Dew will unveil the first beverage co-branded with a video game, Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Game Fuel has the same great taste of Mountain Dew with an invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor and added caffeine for maximum intensity. Game Fuel will come in 20-ounce bottles, 2-liter bottles and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and will be available nationwide for a limited time starting Aug. 13, 2007. 7-Eleven today confirmed its plans to support the launch of "Halo 3" through a variety of in-store promotions, including three "Halo 3"-branded collectible Slurpee cups. In addition, 7-Eleven will run a "Halo 3" promotion with Mountain Dew Game Fuel and Doritos, with thousands of "Halo 3"-themed prizes, including, as grand prize, a chance to win a role as a voice actor in the upcoming Xbox 360 video game, "Halo Wars(TM)," by Ensemble Studios. In a few select markets, Mountain Dew will offer a special-edition aluminum bottle of Mountain Dew Game Fuel with an exclusive design created by Bungie Studios, the developers of "Halo 3." This bottle will be available in very limited quantities, making it a highly sought-after collector's item. Pontiac will provide consumers with several exclusive "Halo 3"-related opportunities. It will host Pontiac Gamers Garage events in select locations, providing consumers with a chance to play the game for the first time before its release. In addition, in support of the launch of its upcoming high-performance G6 GXP Street, Pontiac will provide 1,000 consumers with a copy of the game, and one lucky gamer will win a limited-edition "Halo 3" G6 GXP Street car. Burger King Corp. will continue its sponsorship of Xbox 360 with national, in-restaurant support from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22. "Halo 3"-themed packaging will offer customers access to exclusive content by logging on to http://www.bk.com/halo3 beginning Sept. 23. Graphics will be featured on select packaging, including the 42-ounce cup and King FRYPOD(TM). Comcast has also joined the "Halo 3" campaign and will host exclusive video content, including user-generated movies and machinima, on its Web sites http://gameinvasion.net and http://www.ziddio.com. Comcast will also feature standard- and high-definition "Halo 3" videos on its signature ON DEMAND service. "Halo 3" is also the official sponsor of the Projekt Revolution tour this summer, which includes bands Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance. Exclusive "Halo 3" VIP events will take place in select cities on the tour, where attendees will receive "Halo 3"-themed merchandise and have an opportunity to meet the members of Linkin Park. More About Halo "Halo 3," the final chapter in the groundbreaking "Halo" trilogy, is set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25. Created by legendary developer Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, "Halo 3" will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in the epic battle of Master Chief(TM) to save humankind. In November 2004, the world's view of video games changed forever with the release of "Halo 2," which generated a record-setting $125 million (U.S.) in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the most-played game on Microsoft's Xbox LIVE(R) online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged to date. About Bungie Studios Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the "Marathon Trilogy" and the first two "Myth" games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie's "Halo" franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.8 million units worldwide, logging nearly 1 billion hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE, and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel and more. Bungie is currently at work on "Halo 3," which represents the third chapter in this "Halo" trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net. About Microsoft Game Studios Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox(R) and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows(R) operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as "Age of Empires(R)," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon(R)"; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as "Gears of War" and franchises such as "Halo," "Fable(R)," "Project Gotham Racing(R)" and "Forza Motorsport(R)"; and MSN(R) Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "Hexic(R)." About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.