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Daniel Radosh at the New York Times laments the dependence of games on cinematics for storytelling, and alleges they are stunting the medium's development of its own storytelling vocabulary.

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Halo 3 zoomed from its first day US sales of $170 million to a first week total of $300 million, according to GamesIndustry.biz. It was also heavily played on Xbox Live, garnering the top spot:

Microsoft stats reveal that more than 2.7 million people have played Halo 3 over Xbox Live in the past week, with the first day of release seeing a total of 3.6 million hours of online play, increasing to 40 million hours by the end of the first week.

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Most people long since acceded that Halo 3 would sell well, and it has. The big question for the platform, though, was whether it could move consoles; whether it could take back some of the ground gained by the Nintendo Wii since it launched last year, as well as ensure they'd stay ahead of Sony's lackluster PlayStation 3.

Early indications are that the answer to that might be "yes".

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This is the most definitive link I can find for what is so far a non-story story about Microsoft somehow letting Bungie become independent again.

The official Microsoft response to reports in Jacob Metcalf's blog that allege Bungie is leaving Microsoft was:

There's been no such announcement.

That's the kind of non-denial denial you'd expect from a company that is the subject of so many non-story stories.

Todd Bishop, on his Seattle Intelligencer blog, gets Robbie Bach at Microsoft to comment on that non-denial denial, and ends up getting an explanation of why the non-denial denial exists:

"The problem is, I can't comment one way or another on any of these rumors. Because then, every time you ask me a question about a rumor, I have to comment definitively, and there's times when I don't want to, and times when I do want to. I just don't. You should interpret it that way. You should interpret it as a neutral 'don't.' "

All in all, it seems very likely that people in Bungie might want to, you know, work on a game that isn't Halo, or isn't a shooter, or, God forbid, isn't a Halo shooter. Farming out Halo Wars to Ensemble and Halo Chronicles to Wingnut seemed to me like Microsoft setting up the Halo franchise to continue while Bungie moved on to other things; but perhaps it was just a move to try and maximize the revenue from the Halo property by developing ancillary products with a series of Halo shooters at the center, developed by Bungie.

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...almost. Demand for the service the day of Halo 3's launch stressed the system to its limits, making it slow or inaccessible for many, according to Next-Generation.

Microsoft labelled Halo 3's launch day as the "most active Xbox Live gaming day in history" after more than a million people had been logged playing Halo 3 online. That may be the case, but there were many others who weren't able to get in on the action.

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GameGuru interviews Mohit Anand of Xbox India, who makes some pretty ludicrous sounding sales claims for Xbox 360:

GG: How is the Xbox 360 currently doing in India?

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That's what BeyondUnreal forum poster Quaz51 asserts that these screenshots he's taken illustrate.

If true, might this be the source of all the cantankerousness over Halo 3's "not quite next-gen" graphics?

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Kotaku says that Halo 3 sold out in at least one store in Japan. Who'd have thunk it?

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According to Microsoft, the Halo franchise's latest installment has shattered one-day entertainment sales records again; Halo 3 did $170 million USD in its first day of sales in the US.

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The Seattle Post Intelligencer wonders if Halo 3 can 'turn things around' for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

While I know from personal experience that copyeditors are sometimes pressed for time, I'm still at a loss to understand that headline.

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TeamXbox has the story of Montreal animation studio damnfx, tapped by Bungie to help produce some of the in-engine cinematics of Halo 3.

"Having recently worked on two large format stereoscopic films for IMAX theatres, it was refreshing to focus simply on delivering outstanding animation, while letting Bungie's Halo 3 game engine worry about lighting, rendering and compositing the shots!" said damnfx executive producer Peter Skovsbo.

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That's the question posed on the latest podcast at C|Net. With Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360 vying for the spot of top dog among next generation consoles, Microsoft has to be counting on their flagship franchise, Halo 3, to provide that final push to original Xbox owners to pony up for a 360. Will it be enough? We'll know soon.

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Next-Generation has a passel of interesting statistics about the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live-- software sales, subscriber totals, the works-- if you're interested in that kind of thing.

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Bungie.net will reboot tomorrow with new features enabled. TeamXbox has an interview with Bungie.net's development lead, Chris Gossett, about the new features.

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Russ Pitts at the escapist has never preordered a game-- until Halo 3, that is.

Gamesindustry.biz reports that Microsoft is expecting to sell out of the Legendary edition of Halo 3, in the US at least.

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