BEIJING, Oct. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- When "Halo 3" was launched, Microsoft predicted the new shooter game would be a blockbuster -- and it was, selling 3.3 million copies within 12 days, according to the NPD Group, and giving a big boost to sales of the company's Xbox 360 console.
The NPD numbers show Halo 3 outselling the next best-selling game, Wii Play, by more than 10 times (Wii Play sold 282,000 from Sept. 2 to Oct. 6, the five-week time period NPD measured in its latest report).
The success of "Halo 3," which is exclusive to Microsoft's Xbox 360, appears to have driven sales of that console. According to NPD, Microsoft sold 528,000 360s, compared to 500,001 Nintendo Wiis and 119,000 PlayStation 3s.
But Jesse Divnich, analyst for the gaming-prediction market simExchange, accused the "Halo 3" blockbuster sales of cannibalizing the market.
"The most curious result was that all other games severely underperformed the prediction market's expectations, indicating that 'Halo 3' had a substantial negative effect on other major titles across the board," Divnich said. "Games that were especially impacted were the Xbox 360 games "Stranglehold," "BioShock," and 'Madden NFL 08.'"
Nollenberger Capital Partners' Todd Greenwald and Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter both saw longer-term gains as a result of the shooter's success. Greenwald called the "Halo 3"-spurred boost to Xbox 360 hardware sales a "best-case scenario" for publishers.
"While the success of the Wii has been great for the industry, ultimately Nintendo, and not publishers, is the prime beneficiary," Greenwald said. "It is more advantageous for third-party publishers that the Xbox 360 and PS3 grow their installed bases."
Overall, the video game industry has continued to capitalize on the new generation of consoles. NPD reported that in the five-week period ending Oct. 6, sales of games, consoles, mobile gaming devices, and accessories were 9.37 billion U.S. dollars, a 47 percent increase over the 6.38 billion dollars during the same period a year earlier (a significant figure, but remember that this industry is cyclical, with the peaks tied to the release of new consoles).