Will Halo 4 Be King of the Hill or has CoD Captured the Flag?
Chad Whitney / Nov 16th, 2012 1 Comment
Kicking off the holiday season, 343 Industries’ first attempt at exclusively developing a Halo game was a huge success. Estimated at 3.1 million copies sold worldwide in the first 24 hours of release, including 1.9 million in the US, Halo 4 sold more copies than any previous Halo title. Not only has Halo stuck around through Microsoft’s rise in the game industry, but it also played a major part in the Xbox and Xbox 360’s success. However, the success of the Xbox 360 has played a big part in the rise of what has become Halo’s biggest competition. Being a multiplatform title, Call of Duty has grown into something too big for even Halo’s 3.1 million sales to top. Yes, practically every Xbox owner plans to add Halo 4 to their library at some point, while most Halo fans got the game in the first 24 hours. Even though control of Halo shifted to 343 Industries from Bungie, who made the decision to split from Microsoft in order to become an independent company, Activision did most of its Call of Duty promotions on the Xbox 360. The fact that Call of Duty Black Ops 2 will not only sell better than Halo on the first day, but will also sell better on the Xbox 360, is because of Microsoft’s partnership.
[adsense250itp]Microsoft is clearly making the right moves in hoisting Halo and Call of Duty as the face of the first-person shooter experience on Xbox 360. But is Call of Duty just Microsoft’s ace-in-the-hole or is it taking the place of Halo? In terms of sales and promotion, will Halo just be the old pastime for the Xbox faithful? The approximately 5 million Xbox 360 copies of Modern Warfare 3 sold on release day would suggest that for a while Call of Duty had seized the hearts of more Xbox owners than Halo can even fathom. Maybe Microsoft realized that every Halo fan would buy Halo regardless, ODST being the slight exception, and new fans will continue to come along as the game progresses. Yet Halo fans and more will buy Call of Duty; because of this, Call of Duty will see more advertisements, promotions, and basically more money. Don’t get too worked up Xbox fans, Microsoft clearly hasn’t given up on Halo in an attempt to replace the franchise with Call of Duty as Halo 4 is just the start of a new trilogy. Actually Microsoft could be using Call of Duty to make the Halo franchise better. What comes from the majority of Call of Duty promotions being partnered with Xbox 360 is that Microsoft gets a few extra bucks that, somewhere along the line, will help 343 in their production of Halo games. The success of Call of Duty allows for every FPS developer to take note of what works and what needs improvement, leaving one to assume that Microsoft’s partnership would likely get them a closer look. Combine this with the fact that you get the most complete Call of Duty experience on the Xbox 360, bringing more people to purchase an Xbox, which then allows for potentially more people to buy Halo. Microsoft may just be using Call of Duty to boost sales of their system and buff up Halo a bit. If that is the case, Halo 4 could actually prove to compete with, on the Xbox 360, Black Ops 2’s release.
Halo 4 will possibly be able to put up similar numbers, but for now 343 Industries will likely have to watch as Activision breaks their own record for number of copies sold on release day, previously set by Modern Warfare 3. The number of preorders for Black Ops 2 shows that it doesn’t look good for Halo 4, in terms of poking tongues and shouting “na-na-na-na-boo-boo” because they sold more copies in the first 24 hours. Regardless of whether Halo 4 sells more or less than Black Ops 2 in the first 24 hours or in 5 years, the sales of Halo 4 have made a statement. 343 Industries is sticking to the unique and nontraditional aspects that defined the reign of Halo, but they have also found a way to incorporate some of the better features of Call of Duty into their game. Critics are beginning to wonder, with the rumor of a Modern Warfare 4, if the Call of Duty franchise, or maybe just Infinity Ward, is running out of ideas; 343 Industries certainly proved with Halo 4 that they are just beginning. These new ideas are not enough now, as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will surely sell better than Halo 4 in the short term and long term, but maybe Halo 5 will be set to reclaim its place as the best in every Xbox 360 (or more likely Xbox 720) FPS fan’s heart.
tags: call of duty , cod , fps , halo , halo 4 , microsoft , xbox 360