Microsoft Corp said on Thursday that its "Halo 3" video game racked up worldwide sales of $300 million in its first week, making it one of the year's best sellers and helping to nearly triple sales of its Xbox 360 console.
The news builds on Microsoft's previous announcement that the final chapter in its series of alien-battling shooting games did $170 million in sales in the first 24 hours after its September 25 debut.
The game is crucial to Microsoft's efforts to establish dominance in the $30 billion global video game industry that has been dominated by Sony Corp the past few years. Microsoft also competes against Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii console, which has enjoyed stronger sales this year.
"Initial reports from retailers worldwide show console sales have nearly tripled compared with the weekly average before the launch of 'Halo 3,'" Microsoft said in a statement.
Microsoft did not elaborate, but industry figures show that the company sold 277,000 Xbox 360 units in the United States in August and just over 11,000 units in Japan in that month.
Microsoft also said "Halo 3," which lets people play the game together or battle each other over the Internet, had spurred a "record number" of people to sign up for its paid Xbox Live online service.
The company said all three "Halo" games had sold more than 20 million copies. Earlier this year, Microsoft said the first two games had sold 14.8 million copies, which could mean "Halo 3" has sold as many as 5.2 million copies.
Shares in Microsoft rose 0.9 percent to close at $29.71 on Nasdaq. Over the past year, the stock has risen 6 percent.
Halo 3 is a first-person shooter developed by Bungie Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360. The game is the third title in the Halo series and ends the story arc begun in Halo: Combat Evolved and continued with Halo 2. The game was released on September 25, 2007 in New Zealand (which due to its midnight release made it first available for official retail), Australia, Singapore, India, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and the United States; September 26, 2007 in Europe; and September 27, 2007 in Japan. GameSpot reported that 4.2 million units of Halo 3 were in retail outlets on September 24, 2007, a day before official release, a world record volume release. Halo 3 also holds the record for the highest grossing opening day in video game history, making US$170 million in its first 24 hours.
The game features new vehicles, weapons, and gameplay features not present in the previous titles of the series. Halo 3 focuses on the interstellar war between 26th century humanity and a collection of alien races known as the Covenant, who after a decades-long war have begun the invasion of Earth. The player assumes the role of the Master Chief, a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier, as he wages war in defense of humanity.