In the fall of 2007, the xBox 360 was not yet one year old, but it was already on its way to success with the launch of Halo 3. The game quickly became a hit thanks to online multiplayer. Sure, Halo 3 didn’t invent online multiplayer, but it sure made it popular
At the time, the wait for Halo 3 was heartbreaking. Halo 2 ended on a heartbreaking cliffhanger, and with the arrival of the next chapter exclusively for Microsoft’s new-gen hardware – the Xbox 360 – the excitement was sky high.
And the players have “talked” to their wallets. In the first 24 hours, Halo 3 generated over $ 170 million, a record for the time. Not only was it a commercial success, it also marked the busiest day on Xbox Live at the time, reaching over a million players online in 20 hours.
It’s clear that even though the 360 already hosted a host of online games, Halo 3 made a big impact in bringing players together via Xbox Live. But why has it been so successful in this regard?
Online gaming has gone mainstream
Halo 3 boasted a solid offering, from campaign to competitive multiplayer, to the popular Forge mode, which allowed players to create their own maps. It was an important strength, capable of satisfying a large audience.
Additionally, Halo 3’s gameplay was relatively simple, as satisfying as it is accessible. Taking down enemies with the game’s vast array of weapons was always a good feeling, and even if you were eliminated, you were always able to quickly get back to the action.
In 2007, the internet was a major force, increasing online products, such as betting – view details of today’s offer, marketplaces, etc., but not as ubiquitous as in 2022. Halo 3 was a game that came out on the major Internet walkthroughs arise, leading to many word-of-mouth discussions of how to find the secrets, similar to how many of us learned about games in elementary or middle school.
I remember hearing about Halo 3’s Hidden Skulls, scattered throughout the game’s campaign. These hard-to-find collectibles modified the game, encouraging you to start over, even if you had already lived through the story. Trying to figure out where to find these skulls based on what my friends told me at the time was a blast, something that would no longer happen thanks to the spread of YouTube and other online guides. The magic of talking about the secrets of a game has been lost today, but not in 2007.
A legendary legacy
At the time, even the concept of downloadable content (DLC) alone was in its infancy, with few console games offering support after launch. Halo 3 was a forerunner in this regard, with four additional map packs over the course of about three years. One DLC, the Legendary Map Pack, included a remake of the famous Lockout map from Halo 2, which led to a large influx of players when it was released in 2008.
This has encouraged longtime fans to return while introducing older content to new players – a brilliant tactic from Microsoft. Quickly, other developers introduced similar support after launch, offering map packs and additional story content for around $ 10-20. Again, we can’t say that Halo 3 invented DLC, but it was one of the first major examples of add-on content on a home console.
Halo 3 also impacted other games that came out later. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare launched in November of 2007, just a couple of months after Halo 3, and by then players were already passionate about competitive multiplayer games. Call of Duty 4 was, of course, a very influential game in itself, but at least part of its success is also due to Halo 3 which led players to get on the online train. I remember my entire group of friends switching to Call of Duty 4 in November 2007, which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t played Halo 3 before. It’s not clear what the gaming landscape would be like today without Halo 3. Of course, the Competitive shooters could still have attracted attention, but it is likely that without Halo 3 the genre would not be as popular as it is today.
The original Xbox 360 game servers have been shut down, but you can still enjoy the remastered version of Halo 3 as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One, Xbox Series X | S, and PC.