Redmond (WA) – It appears that Microsoft had a blockbuster title in stores just in time for Christmas once again. Gears of War 2 could not quite match Halo 3, but 2.1 million boxes sold on day 1 means that Microsoft’s game studios and Epic received an early Christmas present and the Xbox 360 should see a nice bump in unit sales.
VGChartz.com apparently had early access to retail sales numbers for Gears of War 2, which, according to the site, sold 2.1 million units on its first day of availability (1.4 million in the U.S. alone). We can criticize Microsoft’s everything-to-everyone game console strategy as long as we want, but we do have to credit the company with an impressive product strategy that delivers key content at the right time.
Last year, it was Halo 3 that sold 3.8 million units on day one and drove $300 million in retail sales within one week – and single-handedly pushed Microsoft entertainment business group from the deep red into the black. Gears of War can’t quite match Halo 3, but has become a $100 million business on day 1 as well and should be capable of driving Xbox 360 sales.
Halo 3 was capable of more than doubling Xbox 360 unit shipments: In August 2007, the month prior to the game’s release, Microsoft shipped 276,600 Xbox 360 units, according to NPD. In September (Halo 3 was released on September 25), that number climbed to 527,800. Unit sales dropped to 366,600 in October 2007.
Microsoft does not quite as much push Xbox 360 sales with Gears of War 2, but we would be surprised if there wasn’t a decent sales bump this month, which should serve as a nice catalyst for Xbox 360 Christmas sales.