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Countdown to Halo Reach Launch

Microsoft Corp. announced that the wait for Halo: Reach is almost over.

According to the statement, to celebrate the launch, tens of thousands of retailers around the world are opening their doors at midnight to sell copies of Halo: Reach, as well as Halo: Reach Xbox 360 consoles and accessories. Special launch events are taking place in major cities around the world, including New York, Seattle, London, Oslo and Stockholm.

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Unedited press release follows:

The Wait Is Almost Over for 2010′s Biggest Entertainment Event: the Debut of ‘Halo: Reach’

Millions of fans worldwide will usher in the launch of the highly anticipated Xbox 360 exclusive game tonight.

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 13 — The most anticipated entertainment event of the year is almost here. Starting at midnight tonight, millions of people around the world will embark on a mission of courage, sacrifice and valor in “Halo: Reach,” the thrilling prequel to the iconic “Halo” trilogy that became a global entertainment phenomenon and defined a generation of gamers over the past decade.

Not since the debut of “Star Wars: Episode I” have fans been so excited to revisit a beloved franchise. Recently dubbed “a pop culture phenomenon” by Variety magazine and hailed as the No. 1 game series of all time,(1) the “Halo” franchise will once again make history with the launch of “Halo: Reach,” which goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 14 in more than 25 countries.

“When it comes to the size and scope of a franchise and especially the dedication of the fans, no game is bigger than ‘Halo,’” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios at Microsoft Corp. “With ‘Halo: Reach,’ we’re delivering on our promise to redefine blockbuster entertainment experiences and ultimately help make this year the biggest ever in Xbox history.”

To celebrate the launch, tens of thousands of retailers around the world are opening their doors at midnight exclusively to sell copies of “Halo: Reach,” as well as “Halo: Reach” Xbox 360 consoles and accessories. Special marquee launch events are taking place in major cities around the world, including New York, further adding to the fervor surrounding the highly anticipated video game, which is expected to top all previous entertainment launches this year.

“Halo” fans in New York will be treated to a special performance by hip-hop star Kid Cudi at the new Best Buy Theater in Times Square. The New York launch event will be broadcast live in HD on Spike TV beginning at 11:33 p.m. EDT, and it will also air live on the Times Square MTV billboard.

“The launch of ‘Halo: Reach’ will likely rival some of the biggest entertainment launches of the year,” said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of the home entertainment group at Best Buy. “What better way to celebrate this highly anticipated game than to partner with Microsoft and host the marquee event at the new Best Buy Theater in Times Square?”

“Halo: Reach” tells the tragic and heroic story of Noble Team, a group of Spartans, who through great sacrifice and courage, saved countless lives in the face of impossible odds. The planet Reach is humanity’s last line of defense between the encroaching Covenant and their ultimate goal, the destruction of Earth. If it falls, humanity will be perched on the brink of destruction.

Published by Microsoft Game Studios, the “Halo” franchise of games is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. As evidence of the game’s highly anticipated release, more than 2.7 million players participated in the “Halo: Reach” multiplayer beta in May, making it the largest console video game beta test on record and more than triple the size of the historic “Halo 3″ beta.

The “Halo” franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” (2001), the critically acclaimed and record-shattering series of games has since inspired multiple New York Times best-selling novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more. To date, more than 34 million copies of “Halo” games have been sold worldwide, driving more than 3.3 billion hours of gameplay by people connected to Xbox LIVE.

A Jetpacking Spartan descended on London’s Trafalgar Square today to celebrate the launch of Halo: Reach.

Regional Launch Events and “Halo: Reach” Midnight Madness

In New York, Seattle and beyond, Microsoft and retail partners are hosting events to give fans a truly memorable “Halo: Reach” launch experience. The launch events will be held at the following venues:

* New York: Best Buy Theater, 1515 Broadway (at 44th St.), New York, N.Y. 10036 (event begins at 8 p.m. EDT, Sept. 13)
* Seattle: Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, 325 5th Ave. North, Seattle, Wash. 98109 (event begins at 6 p.m. PDT, Sept. 13)
* U.K.: GAME, Westfield Shopping Centre, London, W12 7GF (event begins at 9:30 p.m. GMT, Sept. 13)
* Norway: Spaceworld Megastore, Storgata 12, 0155 Oslo (event begins at 12:01 a.m. CET, Sept. 14)
* Sweden: Webhallen, Sveavagen 39, 11134 Stockholm (event begins at 10 p.m. CET, Sept. 13)

In addition, retailers around the world will host midnight madness store openings to usher in the launch of “Halo: Reach,” demonstrating the appeal of an entertainment phenomenon that has elevated video games into mainstream pop culture and permeated every corner of the globe.

Made exclusively for Xbox 360 by acclaimed developer Bungie, “Halo: Reach” will be made available in Standard, Limited and Legendary Editions. As a special bonus, fans can receive a token to unlock an exclusive in-game Spartan Recon Helmet, by picking up a copy of the game on launch day at North American retail stores, and outside North America by making a preorder reservation at participating retailers. More information can be found at

About Xbox LIVE
Xbox LIVE is the online entertainment service for your Xbox 360, connecting you to an ever-expanding world of games, movies, TV, music, sports and social entertainment. Xbox LIVE lets you play the best games, enjoy the largest on-demand library on any console, listen to millions of songs and share the fun with friends around the world. This holiday season, Xbox LIVE will come to Windows Phone 7 and put the power of connected entertainment in the palm of your hand. Xbox LIVE is also the exclusive home of controller-free online entertainment through Kinect, making your Xbox 360 more intuitive and interactive than ever before. With an active community of 25 million people across 26 countries, expanding to 35 this fall, Xbox LIVE, together with Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7, provides you with instant access to the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, wherever you are. More information about Xbox LIVE can be found online at

About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a premier home entertainment and video game system. This November, with the addition of Kinect, Xbox 360 will forever transform social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. Xbox 360 is also home to the best and broadest games as well as the largest on-demand library of music, standard- and high-definition movies, TV shows and digital games, all in one place. The entertainment center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with the leading social network of 25 million Xbox LIVE members to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. More information about Xbox 360 can be found online at

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.