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Report From The Halo 3 Launch Party

In all fairness, I wrote this when it happened, but couldn’t share it with you until now.

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Whoo! Halo 3 is finally here! Time to relax, sit back, and enjoy the fun and games. I spent four hours last night at the Halo 3 launch event in Manhattan, hanging with Ludacris, watching hundreds of cheering and screaming fans and lots of Microsoft spectacle, and enjoying every damn minute of it. A full report, followed by a ton of photos:

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According to Best Buy, they counted 500 shoppers (and a ton of media), each buying an average of 1.5 copies. I saw many, many buyers walking away with the Legendary Edition, with many of the first hundred buyers getting it, or at least the Limited Edition. Some people even walked away with Halo 3 Xbox 360s.

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Outside, there were giveaways and sponsorships all over the place. Mountain Dew was passing around shot glasses of Game Fuel, the Halo 3-branded drink, and the crowd was all hyper, actually chanting, “Game! Fuel!” more than they chanted “Halo!” There were signs, a guy in line who came dressed as Master Chief, giveaway shirts from four different companies, giant screens, eight of those spotlights that shoot all the way into the air, giveaway balloon sticks, giveaway wall hangings, giveaway balls and light up balls, and other things.

When the store opened and they let people in, ten at a time, the people outside were cheering, the employees were clapping and cheering, the atmosphere was exhilarating. You didn’t see a fifth as many people, and certainly not this much excitement and pandemonium, at the iPhone launch. Apple may have a hit product, but the Xbox and Halo are becoming the more dynamic, exciting brands, while iPod becomes more of a routine commodity.

Celebrities were inside, being interviewed and chatting with Major Nelson and others of the Xbox crew and playing the game. Mostly, we saw rappers (like Ludacris, Chingy, and Bobby Valentino) and football players from the Jets and Giants.

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At 20 minutes to midnight, Mongooses came down the street with UNSC soldiers riding them, followed by a tricked out Halo 3 Hummer. A Master Chief guy (in highly detailed armor) came out to meet the army supply box filled with the ceremonial first copies and escorted them, and the first two guys in line, into the store, and gave them their copies of the hotly anticipated game.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. It’ll be a long time before anyone has a launch as big as this.

Microsoft is claiming 1.7 million pre-orders of the game, which would be $102-$153 million in just pre-orders. Wired is claiming 4 million pre-orders, while Microsoft predicts 3 million copies will be sold besides the pre-orders. Either way, we’re talking bare minimum $200 million in sales the first week, which no one can deny is a freaking amazing tally.

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Congratulations, Microsoft. For today, no one can deny that you are, indeed, cool.

After the jump, the rest of my photos:

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The media was everywhere.

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Mountain Dew shirts, Halo hats, glow sticks, swag galore

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Major Nelson suveys the crowd from the stage inside.

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Lots of guys with those Mountain Dew cans on their backs, filled with shirts and bottles, while others with trays of Game Fuel shot glasses walked around passing them out.

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You can see one of the Game Fuel trays here.

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The guy dressed as the chief was Jim Cush, a 34-year old IT guy who was skipping work to be something like the fifteenth in line.

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The first guys in line. They were there since 6 am the day before.

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The Chief suits up.

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New York’s 92.3 K-Rock, the home of Opie & Anthony.

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The Chief, posing for the camera.

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The NFL players, hard at work on Halo 3.

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Ladies love the Chief.

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Some of the pieces from the now-famous diorama, in the windows at Best Buy.

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A Brute from the diorama. The detail is amazing.

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Yeah, he’s guarding the Best Buy bag base.

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Having fun photographing the reflection off the helmet visor.

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I take it he doesn’t like cameras?

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Mountain Dew had these “Respawn” stations where they would give you forearm massages so your gaming arm would be rested and ready.

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These guys were apparently shooting a Halo 3 Launch documentary. Can’t wait to see it.

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Ludacris arrives

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Rapper Chingy and R&B artist Bobby Valentino play the game and trash talk

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I believe that’s a Red Team flag from a guy from the This Spartan Life website.

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Spotlights towering in the night sky.

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Yes, the stupid Burger King king showed up. What does he have to do with Halo? Is this because of the Burger King 360 games?

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The soldiers arrive on Mongooses.

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The Hummer comes, bearing the first copies of the game.

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The soldiers open the door so the Chief can emerge.

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The Chief returns to the store with the case of new Halo 3 disks (there’s a photo above in the article of them being removed from the Hummer).

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Here’s Master Chief handing the first two guys in line their copies of Halo 3. Interestingly, they paid for the more expensive version, but the box only contained the regular version, so I saw these guys asking the PR rep to get them the copy they paid for. I think I heard the rep say they were going to hook them up with other cool stuff.

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Here’s Ludacris, there to receive the third copy of the game. Problem is, they forgot to hand him one, so he actually took it from one of the two kids and had to be reminded to give it back before he walked away.

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They started letting the other customers in, ten at a time, with everyone cheering and clapping as they entered.

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Everyone went and bought their copy, including the woman in the middle, the first female customer of the game.

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The Master Chief guy from the line, Jim, got his copy too. Legendary Edition, of course! Now he’s got two helmets.

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The Chief (the official one, not Jim) poses with the Best Buy employees. The guy with that little sign was walking around with it all night, holding it up and grinning from ear to ear every time a camera was pointed at him.

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And, of course, the stupid Burger King came inside and did nothing. Because that’s all he ever does, and all he’s good for. I can’t stand him.

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Afterwards, the Mongooses were just sitting there in the street. There’s also a picture of me sitting on one, if you look in my Zooomr account.

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There was also this Halo-themed car.

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And finally, here’s the press pass. One of the nicer ones, for sure.

September 30th, 2007 Posted by | Halo, Halo 3, Xbox, Xbox 360 | 2 comments



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2 Comments »

  1. Nice report. Looks like fun! :)

    lol at the Burger King comments. He doesn’t have to do anything – he’s the king!

    Comment by Patrick | September 30, 2007

  2. Wow…has a lot more wow-factor than the Vista launch…

    I think it was $150 million for the first day [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Vj4LNHXc0]

    Comment by Albert | October 1, 2007

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