Microsoft's Bungie Studios gaming arm has closed the beta of the much anticipated Halo 3, setting the countdown timer for the release of the game.
The firm said that the limited public beta was an overwhelming success, seeing more than 820,000 unique participants and more than 12 million hours of online gameplay in its short test period.
This was equivalent to more than 1,400 years of continuous play by one person.
"The participation in the Halo 3 beta was staggering," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios.
"Witnessing such a great reaction to a small portion of the game has been inspiring. It is a testament to the fervour and anticipation that surrounds Halo 3.
"We are confident that on 25 September Halo 3 will drive an unprecedented wave of new gamers to the Xbox 360 platform and Xbox Live."
The Halo 3 beta, offering an early look at parts of the multiplayer game, debuted to Xbox 360 owners worldwide via Xbox Live on 16 May.
The 820,000 users who played the beta resulted in more than 350TB of data downloaded from Xbox Live, equivalent to more than 82 million digital music downloads.
Also proving popular was the saved-film feature, which allowed players to record their games and share them over Xbox Live with friends for the first time on Xbox 360.
The feature saw more than 580,000 saved films created by users, representing more than 2.7TB of data.
Because of the tremendous participation in the beta, Bungie now has an exhaustive amount of data that will be used to improve the overall game experience.
Game on for Halo 3 beta
By Clement James on Jun 15, 2007 4:36PM