Kicking off the start of the frenzied holiday shopping season, retailers welcomed hordes of Xbox consumers over Thanksgiving weekend. Gamers flocked to purchase the Xbox video game system, Xbox Live subscriptions and Xbox games, not the least of which was the blockbuster "Halo 2."
Transcending borders, Xbox gamers around the globe continued to devour copies of "Halo 2," which has now sold more than 5 million copies worldwide since its launch on November 9. In fact, the "Halo" franchise has exceeded the 11 million unit mark, with cumulative sales from "Halo: Combat Evolved," "Halo 2" and "Halo" for Windows.
Xbox consoles are proving to be hot purchase items at retailers this holiday. Console sales in the United States increased nearly 50 percent in sales this week, when compared to Thanksgiving week last year. Holiday shoppers continue to recognize the unrivaled entertainment experience and incredible value of the Xbox game console.
"'Xbox' and 'Halo 2' are on most consumers' must-have lists this holiday season," said Robert McKenzie, Vice President of Merchandising at Gamestop. "Popularity for both the Xbox console and its number one title 'Halo 2' is an early indication that Xbox will enjoy a stellar holiday season."
The Xbox Live community has already logged a record-setting 28 million hours playing "Halo 2", more than any other Xbox Live game in the two-year history of the global service.
The instant action and immersive gameplay in "Halo 2" propelled gamers to play online for an average of 91 minutes per session, approximately the same length as a major motion picture. Out of a universe of more than one million Xbox Live members, "Halo 2" on Xbox Live has already attracted more than 900,000 unique users.
In addition to the "Halo 2" phenomenon, Xbox is satiating the entertainment appetites of both adults and children, of all ages and personalities. "Fable," the ground-breaking Xbox role-playing adventure game from Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Game Studios has reached new heights, racking sales of more than one million units worldwide in only two months since its availability at retail. Other great games for the entire family include the Platinum Hits series, with seven new offerings at a tremendous value of $19.99, including "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3" from Ubisoft and "NFL Street" from EA.
Xbox is also reaching new consumers with the launch of Xbox Live Arcade on November 4, introducing a new social experience for gamers of every level with popular retro classics and broad appeal games like "Dig Dug", "Bejeweled", and the fully Xbox Live-enabled "Fuzzee Fever" directly to Xbox over the Xbox Live service.
In North America, holiday shoppers can purchase the Xbox console, two full premium sports games ("NCAA Football 2005" from EA Sports and "Top Spin" by Microsoft Game Studios) and a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live™ for just $149.99.
"This year's holiday offer provides something for everyone in the family and is a great value for Xbox consumers," said Mitch Koch, corporate vice president, worldwide retail sales and marketing for Microsoft's Xbox. "With the combined value of the Xbox console and two great games, the retail offer opens the door for new and old customers alike."