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Fans queue for new Halo video game

posted 14 Sept 2010, 06:26 by Mpelembe   [ updated 14 Sept 2010, 07:00 ]
Hundreds of gamers queue for the midnight launch of Halo:Reach, the fourth installment in the blockbuster video game series for Microsoft's XBox 360, which has sold over 34 million copies of previous editions.
UK-HALO REACH - The Spartans have landed in London's Trafalgar Square.

That can only mean one thing ... new video game Halo:Reach has hit the shops.

It's the fourth installment in the blockbuster game series.

And here in London - and around the world - fans queued for the midnight launch - guided by characters from the game.

 Unnamed "Halo" fan, saying:

"Amazing! I'm going to go home and play this all night with my friends, so I won't be getting any sleep for a while."

Unnamed "Halo" fan, saying:

"I've been waiting like half a day now so it's worth it."

The Halo series was developed by Bungie and is played on Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console.

It's been a runaway sales success - Microsoft says prior editions of "Halo" have sold over 34 million copies.

Halo:Reach is a prequel to the previous games, where a group of soldiers called Spartans make a stand against the alien Covenant forces on a planet called Reach.

Stephen McGill, Director of Xbox and Entertainment at Microsoft says you can play the game alone, with friends, or with other gamers around the world.

 Stephen McGill, Director of Xbox and Entertainment at Microsoft, saying:

"Whatever your skill level is, we'll try and help you find people of your particular skill level. There's nothing worse than not being the best or being really bad at playing a game and constantly losing."

The gaming industry has come under pressure during the recession.

But star products like Halo:Reach are still money-spinners.

The industry made a massive $60 billion globally in 2009 - and market researchers predict a rise to $70 billion in 2015.

Stephen McGill says some of the biggest games can earn the same as blockbuster films.

Stephen McGill, Director of Xbox and Entertainment at Microsoft, saying:

"The video game market in the last year alone was more than double that of the music and movie business combined. So it's still a very successful market. When you look at some stats of how they compare to movies generally, particularly the big blockbuster movies. Things like ToyStory3 when that launched, in its opening week in the U.S. that did about $109 million. When Halo 3 launched back in 2007, that did $170 million in its first 24 hours."

With figures like that - it's no surprise this is just the first of many games launches planned in the run up to Christmas.

Joanna Partridge, Reuters