Microsoft's "Halo: Reach" hit $200 million dollars in sales in just its first 24 hour on store shelves. That makes it the biggest debut of any movie or game so far this year.
But how much will Microsoft actually make? And how does that compare to a blockbuster movie opening?
Microsoft wouldn't reveal any details but it's clear that Halo:Reach is already profitable. If the game sold $200m at retail, retailers take 20 percent, giving Microsoft $160 million in revenue. Though video games usually cost just $20 million, Halo is far pricier than most, taking three years and an estimated $60 million to make, according to Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. The studio also spent more to market — an estimated $40 million around the launch with another $20 million expected to come over the next year. But by that measure, Microsoft is looking at forty million in profits on its first day of sales alone.
Nine million copies of "Halo:Reach" are expected to sell in the first twelve months, which would give Microsoft $430 million in revenue. If the costs are just $120 million, that means the studio earns $300 million on the game.
The game also drives subscriptions to Microsoft XBox 360 Gold, at $60 a month. Microsoft tells me that 4.5 million people play Halo through the XBox 360 Gold system -- that's another $270 million in revenue to Microsoft thanks to the game.