Successful Halo 3 Beta Concludes

Microsoft said Wednesday that it had ended its multiplayer beta of Halo 3, adding that it had attracted over 820,000 unique participants contributing over 12 million hours of game play.

The company now turns its focus to promotion through Halo-themed merchandise, such as a special edition wireless controller and wireless headset. While the accessories are not available until September, Microsoft is building buzz by permitting pre-orders.

Other promotions include a special edition Halo 3 Zune to be available exclusively through GameStop on June 15 for 249; a book by Tor Books debuting on October 2; and a Marvel comic series beginning on July 25.

Bungie and Microsoft launched the beta on May 16, although issues with registration initially locked some gamers out of the beta. The strain on Xbox Live was tremendous -- downloads of the beta alone constituted about 350 terabytes of data.

"The participation in the 'Halo 3' beta was staggering," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "Witnessing such a great reaction to a small portion of the game has been inspiring."

Halo 3 is set to launch on September 25.

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