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Halo 3: And The Hype Rolls On (And On)

Halo 3
Halo 3

I made the trek cross-country yesterday to front our exclusive Halo 3 release coverage from this Best Buy store at the corner of 44th and 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan.

This is one of 10,000 retailers nationwide that'll be hosting midnight-madness sales tonight to launch Halo 3 onto store shelves. And the hype machine's in overdrive. At our perch here: SpikeTV and G4 Network will be broadcasting live tonight. Professional athletes like Mathias Kiwanuke from the NY Giants, Nick Mangold from the NY Jets and former NFL great Carl Banks will all be stopping by, playing the game with those standing in line.

Some folks got here last night, including Uche Nwachukwu who arrived at 6p EDT to be first in line. He tells me, "I want the game, but if I were just out to get the game I'd just go downtown. It's the experience. To meet fans of Halo and enjoy the entertainment Microsoft is providing. And to get my name in the paper." He's most exciting about "cooperative play" over Xbox Live. He's already called friends in several cities and they're getting pumped. He'll be getting the middle-priced one, ready to plunk down $80 bucks and willing to wait 28 hours for the honor.

The line isn't long, but should get there by early afternoon when the store fully expects a packed place. TV production trucks clog 44th. Stages are set up in the store with big screens playing the game. Bungie Studios manager Harold Ryan is here testing out all the equipment.

Tonight, the hype kicks into overdrive: 5th Ave. will be shut down from 45th to 44th because I hear Microsoft will be rolling military equipment and tanks down the road at around 1140p EDT. That's an interesting trick considering the other news happening in this town: Iran's president is here; President Bush arrives tomorrow; the UN is hosting a week's worth of events nearby. So while the military show of force might be unnerving for some, not to worry. It's all about the game.

Microsoft will release preliminary sales figures some time Tuesday afternoon, with some analaysts projecting as much as $200 million in revenue these next 24 hours. And the hype rolls on...

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