If They Were Halo

The massive anticipation is over. Halo 3 launch day has come and gone with great fanfare — big events, long lines, eager fans, master chief, etc. In the first 24-hour period alone, the game grossed over $170 million. To put that in terms of copies sold, it’s roughly equivalent to more than 2.8 million. Of those, 1.7 million copies were pre-sold.

With Halo 3 riding high on the extreme marketing push made by Microsoft and Bungie, one has to wonder if it would have experienced such success without it. Moreso, it is interesting to ponder what games might have done just as well as Halo 3 had they received the same tender loving care from their respective marketing departments.

I have gone through a slew of recent releases, and come up with a pair of games that may very well have been this year’s supersellers had they been pushed down consumers’ throats the same way that Halo 3 was.


BioShock is arguably the best game of 2007. It received multiple “best of E3 honors, as well as “best Xbox 360 game” at the 2007 Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany. Also the third in a series, BioShock is the spiritual successor to a pair of games that routinely land on critics’ “top videogames of all time” lists — System Shock and System Shock 2.

It’s rich storyline and excellent gameplay were apparently not enough to match the might of Halo 3, however. Halo 3 managed to sell more copies prior to release than BioShock had done with more than 2 weeks of shelf time. As of September 10th, 2K’s shooter was reported to have shifted 1.5 million copies.

BioShock‘s Gamerankings and Metacritic ratings are both a full point higher than those of Halo 3, even though nearly twice as many scores have been recorded yet it’s total sales pale in comparison.

Metroid Prime 3 is widely considered the best original Wii title to date. It is the third part of the critically acclaimed 3-D series in one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. This is beside the fact that the much earlier Super Metroid for the SNES topped EGM’s infamous Top 100 Games of All Time, and has since apeared in the top 20 range of nearly every similar list since. Still, Metroid Prime 3 sold a mere 10th of Halo 3‘s day one numbers in the first week after release.

Metroid Prime 3

The advertising behind this sales performance? A downloadable Wii channel with videos and pictures of the game, along with Virtual Console releases of the first two games in the Metroid franchise. That sort of isolated advertising is not exactly what one would expect to lead to Halo-esque sales… and it didn’t.

So what would happen if all of these games had equal marketing muscle backing them?  Well, I’m no Michael Pachter, but I imagine it would lead to greater sales and fan support.  Either of these stellar sequels could have shared in the success of Halo 3, but– Hey, look at that! The Halo 3 “Believe” commercial is on TV.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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