Plugged In

ROUND-UP: Video-Gaming Week in Review

I have been a bad boy. During the last two weeks, I’ve spent so much time playing Halo 3 and NBA 2K8 that I’ve neglected my blogging duties. Therefore, as a self-imposed punishment, I’m not going to turn on Xbox 360 FOR AN ENTIRE DAY! That’s right. I’m suspending my Xbox 360 gaming privileges for a whole 24 hours to show how much you, the readers, mean to me. (And just for the record, this decision has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that MLB Power Pros for the Wii is a blast to play. Honest. Nothing at all.) Anyway, on to the news:

FREE STUFF: As if Halo 3 wasn’t enough, Microsoft is giving gamers another reason to buy an Xbox 360 this holiday season — TWO FREE GAMES! Now with the purchase of either the $349.99 Pro System or the $449.99 Elite, gamers will receive a copy of both Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Forza Motorsport 2. Both bundles should be available in stores by the end of October.

GOOD LAUNCH: Halo 3 is a really popular game. OK, so that’s not exactly a news flash, but I doubt anyone could have predicted just how popular Bungie’s FPS would become. First-day sales of Halo 3 eclipsed every other video game or movie launch in U.S. history and brought in an estimated $170 million, according to Microsoft. Halo 2 had been the most successful entertainment launch ever, raking in $125 million in 2004. The summer blockbuster “Spider-Man 3” had a $59 million first-day haul, a record for the movie industry — but a fraction of Halo’s profits. For its first week, Halo 3 sales topped $300 million. With these kind of mind-numbing figures, can Microsoft and Bungie NOT make Halo 4?

BEYOND HALO: Apparently not anytime soon. The publisher and developer announced a parting of the ways that allows Bungie to pursue other projects besides Halo. This doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing Master Chief on the PlayStation 3 (the exclusive publishing deal between Bungie and Microsoft remains intact), but it does mean that a new Halo game from Bungie may not come during this console generation.

ROCK ON: For those about to rock, we salute you! MTV and EA have revealed the price of the soon-to-be-released Rock Band and, surprisingly, it’s not altogether unaffordable. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game, developed by the people who created Guitar Hero, will launch Nov. 23 and retail for $169.99. That price includes a guitar controller, a drum kit, a microphone and the game itself. The PlayStation 2 version will cost $159.99 and be available Dec. 10.

Well that’s all I’ve got for now. Until next time, keep gaming!