The Halo Franchise Sales History

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The Halo franchise is Microsoft's largest original IP yet there are misunderstandings around how much certain titles sold thanks to unsourced claims. This thread aims to collect everything with a notable source and correct any issues. For example, the Halo 3 14.5M often thrown around is at best a half truth.

I am keeping this OP to official data only. No guesstimates or ranges. Just pure reported data, all sourced to the most official outlets. Below this post away from official data I will provide my estimates of launch week sales for certain games.

Franchise Sales
DATE​
SALES​
NATION​
SOURCE​
April 8, 20021,000,000North AmericaSource
July 14, 20033,000,000WorldwideSource
January 28, 20044,000,000WorldwideSource
October 19, 20045,000,000WorldwideSource
December 3, 200411,000,000WorldwideSource
January 20, 200512,800,000WorldwideSource
February 9, 200614,500,000WorldwideSource
October 4, 200720,000,000WorldwideSource
January 8, 200925,000,000WorldwideSource
May 24, 201034,000,000WorldwideSource
October 31, 201246,000,000WorldwideSource
December 6, 201250,000,000WorldwideSource
October 20, 201460,000,000WorldwideSource
July 13, 201565,000,000WorldwideSource
June 201670,000,000WorldwideSource *Doc download
February 24, 202181,000,000WorldwideSource

Obviously, the first 5M are all Halo CE. To note, it's only the Xbox version. That's because when the first franchise total comes in at 11M, Halo 2 is at 5M and is supposed to be over Halo CE at 5M, which only adds up to 10M. The PC version is the remainder. The Microsoft PR linked for 5M also talks about how CE was "Developed exclusively for Xbox" and sold 5M. Then when the franchise total of 12.8M is reached, they specifically say PC sales are included.

US Franchise Life To Date Mid 2010
CONSOLESALES
Xbox Halo (CE, 2)11,000,000
Xbox 360 Halo (3, Wars, ODST)10,000,000
All Halo21,000,000

Source is NPD via IGN. NPD did not provide PC sales for CE and 2.

Halo: Combat Evolved
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
April 8, 20021,000,000North AmericaSource
July 14, 20033,000,000WorldwideSource
January 28, 20044,000,000WorldwideSource
October 19, 20045,000,000WorldwideSource
December 3, 20046,000,000WorldwideSource
January 20, 20056,400,000WorldwideSource
February 9, 20067,200,000WorldwideSource

PC gets added to the total at the 6M update. Out of 11M total franchise units, 5M are Halo 2. That leaves 6M for CE Xbox and PC. The next franchise update at 12.8M has Halo 2 selling 6.4M, meaning the other 6.4M is CE.

Halo 2
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
October 19, 20041,500,000United StatesSource
November 10, 20042,400,000North AmericaSource
December 3, 20045,000,000WorldwideSource
January 20, 20056,400,000WorldwideSource
January 20, 20054,400,000United StatesSource
November 9, 20057,000,000WorldwideSource
February 9, 20067,300,000WorldwideSource
May 9, 20068,000,000WorldwideSource
September 25, 20076,300,000United StatesSource
June 3, 20086,610,000United StatesSource

October 2004 is pre orders 3 weeks before the game launched.

The 8M number only comes from CNN Money and I don't know where they got it. It could be from Microsoft or from an analytic firm. This is the only suspect number here.

Halo 3
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
August 9, 20071,000,000North AmericaSource
September 24, 20071,700,000United StatesSource
September 27, 2007$170,000,000United StatesSource
October 4, 2007$300,000,000WorldwideSource
January 4, 20088,100,000WorldwideSource

Before September 25 is pre order sales. $170M is Day 1. $300M is Week 1.

Something important to note is the Halo 3 14.5M number that gets thrown around from here Source. That is incorrectly attributed to Halo 3 when it is actually referring to the franchise before Halo 3. It's the same PR from when Halo 2 Vista was announced in 2006. There is even a 2008 article with the blurb Source so yeah, it's not Halo 3 that sold 14.5M. At least, you can't say the game sold 14.5M BECAUSE of that blurb, it's not a source for that fact.

Halo Wars
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
March 19, 20091,000,000WorldwideSource
June 2012+2,000,000WorldwidePicture At The Bottom

Halo 3: ODST
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
September 20092,500,000WorldwideSource *Doc download
November 13, 20093,000,000WorldwideSource
June 20125,000,000WorldwidePicture At The Bottom

2,500,000 is the first two weeks.

Halo Reach
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
September 15, 2010$200,000,000WorldwideSource
October 28, 2010$350,000,000WorldwideSource
June 20127,000,000WorldwidePicture At The Bottom

$350M is 16 days

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
June 2012+1,500,000WorldwidePicture At The Bottom

Halo 4
DATESALESNATIONSOURCE
November 12, 2012$220,000,000WorldwideSource
November 2012$300,000,000WorldwideSource *Doc download
July 3, 2013Fastest Selling Microsoft Studios Title In Launch Fiscal YearUnited SatesSource

Halo 4 is definitively the biggest launch according to Microsoft. ""Halo 4” surpassed more than $220 million in worldwide sales in the first 24 hours and more than $300 million worldwide in its first week, making it the biggest “Halo” launch in history."

The 2013 update is less well known and doesn't have a number to it, but is important. The "Fiscal Year" refers to Microsoft's July - June reporting year. This says that Halo 4 July 2012 - June 2013 sales are higher than Halo 3 July 2007 - June 2008. Halo 3 actually had more time on the market, being a September launch, compared to Halo 4's November release.

Halo 5
DATESALENATIONSOURCE
20155,000,000WorldwideSource

Source is Frank O' Conner, Franchise Development Director at 343. First 3 months are the whole of 2015. October, November, December.

Pic below is a retailer quiz on the franchise in the lead up to Halo 4 from Xbox.

halo4-3.jpg
 
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Launch ESTIMATES

GAMESALESDURATION
Halo 3~4,400,000Week 1
Halo Reach<4,400,000 / 5,200,000Week 1 / Week 3
Halo 4+4,400,000Week 1
Halo 5~2,500,000Week 1

Halo 3: $300M at $60 is 5,000,000 but Halo 3 also had more expensive $70 and $130 SKUs. An ASP of $65 would put sales at 4,600,000 and an ASP of $70 would be 4,300,000. 4,400,000 is a good Week 1 estimate then.

Halo Reach: Week 1 is a bit unknown as it was never made clear if Halo Reach actually outdid Halo 3. For the 3 Weeks milestone, $350M at $60 is 5,800,000 but Halo Reach also had more expensive $80 and $150 SKUs. An ASP of $65 would put sales at 5,400,000 and an ASP of $70 would be 5,000,000. 5,200,000 is a good Week 3 estimate then.

Halo 4: Halo 4 is definitively the biggest launch according to Microsoft. ""Halo 4” surpassed more than $220 million in worldwide sales in the first 24 hours and more than $300 million worldwide in its first week, making it the biggest “Halo” launch in history."

Halo 5: Week 1 was tracked in the October 2015 NPD. Leaks put it at 842,000 retail, 93,000 Xbox One Bundles, and ~30% digital totaling around 1,300,000 sold through in the US. Below will be a long historical / math explanation for how big US sales are for the Halo franchise to help give credibility to my estimate.


Some of this is official from NPD, others are leaks from NPD data. Both are valid here as the leaks came from trusted sources. I also want to emphasize just how much the US market contributes to Halo.

From the IGN story, 21,000,000 Halo games were sold through in the US. NPD is always a month behind when reporting so when IGN made the article in July, they would have been using June data. This also excludes PC and Vista sales.

Bungie announced 34,000,000 that May.

That means 62% of all Halo sales were from the US. That's a minimum. Including PC sales, of which should be over 500,000 at a minimum given CE PC was a million seller, and factoring in unsold copies, we are looking at the US having around a 65% share by June 2010.

Here's the game by game.

Halo 2
NPD 2004: 4,400,000
Worldwide 2004: 6,400,000

69 / 31

NPD 2007: 6,300,000
Worldwide: 8,000,000 - 9,000,000

70 - 79 / 21 - 30

It should be noted that NPD is sell through while everything Microsoft reports is shipped. So when accounting for unsold units, the 2004 share is much higher than 69%. The US could have received 5M shipments as an example given the holiday launch.

We know from the June 2012 image that Halo 2 is below 9,000,000. The quiz only includes Xbox sales as Halo CE is shown as +6M when Xbox + PC puts it over 7M.

The final range of 70-79% is the best we have for Halo 2.

Halo 3
NPD 2007: 4,820,000
Worldwide 2007: 8,100,000

60 / 40

Same for Halo 2, US shipments are higher than sell through. 60% is a minimum. I can see it going to 65% if the US shipment was ~5.3M (+500K above sell through).

Halo Reach
September NPD 2010: 3,300,000
September Worldwide 2010: 5,200,000 (from above estimate)

63 / 37

The $350M revenue is tracked to September 30 2010, and NPD September 2010 went to October 2. It's basically the same thing. And again, the share is much higher than 63%. October 2010 NPD sales were 315,000 so if we assume 300,000 unsold units in September, the US share goes up to 69%

Halo 5
And here it is.

Basically, from all the above, US is guaranteed +60% of total sales, and averages out to ~65% across all titles (2010). Halo 5 isn't breaking sales trends since Halo 2. Xbox One did much worse outside the US than Xbox 360. Halo 5 at best had a 65% share at launch and probably closer to if not higher than 70%.

November 2015 retail was 358,000. Adding 400,000 unsold units to Week 1 would be 1,700,000 in the US. 65% share puts Worldwide at 2,600,000 and 70% is 2,400,000. 2,500,000 is a fine estimate.
 
Potential LTD Sales October 2012
From the 2012 image

Combat Evolved Xbox: +6,000,000
Halo 2 Xbox: +8,000,000
Halo 3: +10,000,000
Wars: +2,000,000
ODST: 5,000,000
Reach: 7,000,000
CEA: +1,500,000

Soon after this, Franchise sales hit 46,000,000. Combining all these together only adds up to 39,500,000

Franchise sales went from 14,500,000 to 20,000,000 after Halo 3 launched. In the post above, we can extrapolate around 4,400,000 for Halo 3 Week 1 off of $300M, leaving 15,600,000 for CE + 2. We can leave them here at this point since 2008 on Xbox software sales would be close to 0. Re adding everything brings sales to 41,100,000. 4,900,000 to be distributed.

Considering ODST and Reach are the only games without a +, we can assume they are right at 5,000,000 and 7,000,000. Wars and CEA must be well above 2,000,000 and 1,500,000 otherwise why have a +? CEA needs to be below 2,000,000 and Wars should be under 2,500,000 going by the way Microsoft wrote the numbers. Going in the middle, Wars is at 2,300,000 and CEA at 1,800,000.

All combined adds up to 41,700,000. 4,300,000 left.

Now we have to remember the quiz is from June 2012. 46,000,000 comes from October 2012. A good 4 months. Assuming all Xbox 360 era games added 100,000 each in that time, we can have a finalized estimate.

Halo CE + PC + 2 + Vista: 15,600,000
Halo 3: 13,900,000
Wars: 2,400,000
ODST: 5,100,000
Reach: 7,100,000
CEA: 1,900,000

Halo 3 has to take all the remaining sales. Every other game has set ranges we can easily see. Is this 100% accurate? No. Is it close enough? Yes.

As of October 2012, the above is about where each game was. Don't take it as exact, but you can say stuff like Reach was above 7M, or CEA and Wars around 2M, Halo 3 was well above 10M. Funny that Halo 3 was pretty close to the 14.5M everyone assumed was right, but hey we almost got there in the end.
 
Kudos, thats really a great summary of the franchise sales. Cant wait to see it updated in the following years.
Infinite will be massive.
 
Being day one on Game Pass I doubt you'll see many sales updates from now on except PR for record players.
 
More sales milestones after Infinite launches is going to be difficult but I feel like Steam is going to be a big help if the campaign is well received. You need to have campaign in order to find and unlock certain armors in multiplayer so 343 were smart to think ahead on that compatibility.

I do intend on rounding up all the player numbers for previous games before December.

Thanks! @Lelouch0612 and @cw_sasuke
 
For the next big MS releases, especially starting next year we might have to focus on other performance indicators when it comes to their press statement. Havent really been following them since they stopped providing actual numbers on a regular schedule.
 
I'm actually not expecting Halo Infinite to record high sales numbers

One thing I've noticed is that recent Betas really boosted pre-order numbers on games (for example Battlefield 2042) but none of the Tech Tests saw a big jump in preorders on Steam for Halo Infinite

I'm expecting massive numbers from Free To Play and Game Pass but I'm really thinking boxed sales look underwhelming. Though selling the game at full price isn't a priority for Microsoft or 343 this time around so doesn't matter much
 
I'm actually not expecting Halo Infinite to record high sales numbers

One thing I've noticed is that recent Betas really boosted pre-order numbers on games (for example Battlefield 2042) but none of the Tech Tests saw a big jump in preorders on Steam for Halo Infinite

I'm expecting massive numbers from Free To Play and Game Pass but I'm really thinking boxed sales look underwhelming. Though selling the game at full price isn't a priority for Microsoft or 343 this time around so doesn't matter much
Campaign on Steam will 100% depend on how it previews and reviews. Gameplay should be solid going by the multiplayer but the structure of it will have an impact.
 
I'm actually not expecting Halo Infinite to record high sales numbers

One thing I've noticed is that recent Betas really boosted pre-order numbers on games (for example Battlefield 2042) but none of the Tech Tests saw a big jump in preorders on Steam for Halo Infinite

I'm expecting massive numbers from Free To Play and Game Pass but I'm really thinking boxed sales look underwhelming. Though selling the game at full price isn't a priority for Microsoft or 343 this time around so doesn't matter much
Right, Halo Infinite will do massive dollar sales, but on account of its wide reach f2p multiplayer. Itll be hard to beat, but maybe it can surpass Halo 3s concurrent active player peak with some luck.
 
@Welfare With Halo 2's 2,38m units launch day sales being sell-through according to the PR, is that the case for other openings too? Mainly interested in Halo 3's $170m D1 / $300m W1, Reach's $200m D1 and Halo 4's $220m D1 / $300m W1
 
@Welfare With Halo 2's 2,38m units launch day sales being sell-through according to the PR, is that the case for other openings too? Mainly interested in Halo 3's $170m D1 / $300m W1, Reach's $200m D1 and Halo 4's $220m D1 / $300m W1

All sell through, but Halo 3 is US only, Reach is US and Europe and Halo 4 is Worldwide.
 
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