COLUMBIA — Tonight is a big night for Columbia gamers.
At midnight, Microsoft is expected to release Halo 3, the latest installment of the company’s blockbuster franchise for the Xbox 360 video game console. The science fiction-themed game is rated “mature” and features epic battles between the player and an alien race.
Several retailers are expected to have copies available at midnight, including Tiger Tech at MU, Slackers CD’s & Games, Gamestop, EB Games, Game Crazy and every Wal-Mart location.
“This is a Harry Potter-like release for us,” said Dale Sanders, a sales consultant for Tiger Tech. “But we’re not doing anything other than selling. People just want to get that copy and take it home right away.”
Sanders, who planned Halo 3’s midnight launch for the MU retail outlet, said Halo 3 should be the best-selling game in the store’s history, replacing the record that Halo 2 currently holds. Sanders said the store took 160 preorders for the regular edition, 40 for the limited edition and 10 for the legendary edition.
The three editions cost between $59.99 and $129.99. The regular edition comes with the game only; the limited edition, for $69.99, includes the game, a bonus content disk and a comic; and the legendary edition includes two bonus disks and a replica of a helmet that the game’s main character wears.
Kevin McKenna, an MU senior, said he plans on being at Tiger Tech at 8:30 p.m. to wait in line.
The sooner I get there, the sooner I’ll be playing the game,” he said.
More than 1.5 million preorders worldwide have been taken for the game, according to xbox.com, Microsoft’s gaming site. Halo 3’s posted preorder numbers exceed any other game in history. Its total sales are expected to overtake Halo 2’s 2004 release, which generated $125 million in sales within 24 hours, according to Microsoft.
An employee at Best Buy said it had taken around 100 preorders combined for Halo 3’s three editions. Although Best Buy will not have a midnight release party, the game will be available for purchase at the store.
Alex Hilderbrand, a team leader at Slackers, said the store had taken about 20 preorders and had about 100 copies of the regular edition on hand.
An employee at Game Crazy said the Columbia location had taken about 200 preorders for the game.
Managers at both Gamestop and EB Games would not identify their preorder numbers but indicated that they likely will only have copies available for those who preordered.