Halo 3 due for worldwide release on September 25, are enormous. McFarlane Toys is so confident in Halo 3's prospects it is already building a line of action figures, led by Halo protagonist Master Chief. And with the new games console war just ramping up between the Xbox 360, Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft is banking on Halo 3 securing a commanding lead.
The pressure on Jarrard and the team at Bungie is no doubt bolstered by the glowing expectations of analysts, who predict the title will give Microsoft's loss-making gaming division its first profitable quarter.
Goldman-Sachs's analysts expect Halo 3 to contribute $US170 million ($193 million) in revenue to Microsoft's bottom line in its first week of sales. To put it another way, they expect Microsoft to ship to retailers one copy of Halo 3 for every three Xbox 360s in the world.