As the UK-based director of Xbox and Entertainment at Microsoft, it's Stephen McGill's job to boast about upcoming games, even ones that seem to have the whole "hype" thing in the bag. "We have huge expectations," McGill said of Halo: Reach, speaking to Eurogamer at a launch event. Those expectations are so huge, that he expects it to outsell Activision's biggest first-person shooter, Call of Duty: Black Ops.
"More than 34 million people have bought [a Halo game] and those people are going to want to play Halo: Reach. We're going to do incredibly well," McGill said. What are Halo's chances, a platform-exclusive game, at besting a franchise that's only increased in popularity (and earnings) with each iteration?
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter suspects it'll be a "tossup" between the shooters on the Xbox 360, but believes there's "no chance" for Halo: Reach to surpass Black Ops overall. "If Halo does outsell Black Ops, it will be a wonderful thing for the industry, since it will ensure that we have a really big holiday," Pachter told Joystiq. "I think Halo could penetrate 25 percent of the Xbox 360 installed base, putting it on par with the last four GTA games, but CoD has an addressable market that is 50 percent bigger, so it only needs 18 percent penetration."
Pachter added that only a 10-point difference in average review scores would give Halo the sales advantage -- but noted with tongue in cheek, "since we all know that the gaming press has already made up its mind to rate both games in the 90s, a 10-point difference is not likely."
Analyst Jesse Divnich of EEDAR was a little more direct in his response: "Both titles will be mammoths, but claiming that Halo: Reach will outsell Call of Duty is aggressively optimistic. Simply put, it's not happening."