07:49 PM

Microsoft Bundles Halo Reach With Xbox 360

The bundle includes a chrome color Xbox 360 console with a 250 GB hard drive, two wireless controllers, and the standard edition for the video game.

Microsoft plans to offer a chrome-color model of the Xbox 360 console bundled with Halo: Reach, the last chapter of the popular video game that has been a major contributor of Xbox sales.

Microsoft said Friday the bundle would be available Sept. 14, the same day Halo: Reach is scheduled to be released. The limited edition Xbox 360 shipping with the game was designed by Halo developer Bungie Studios.

The bundle includes an Xbox 360 with a 250 GB hard drive, two wireless controllers and the standard edition for the video game. The package, which is available on Amazonfor pre-order, is expected to cost $400.

Video games drive console sales, which is why it is not unusual for console makers to bundle popular games with their system. In offering Halo: Reach with the Xbox 360, Microsoft is tapping one of the most successful games developed for the console.

Halo 3, released in September 2007, racked up $170 million in sales on its first day of availability, making it the hottest-selling title in video-game history. The game is a so-called first-person shooter featuring a biologically enhanced super soldier called Master Chief, who has to blast his way through a futuristic, 3-D landscape to survive and accomplish missions.

Given the slump in the video-game industry, Microsoft is likely to be joined eventually by rivals Sony and Nintendo in offering promotions to boost console sales.

In June, video-game sales at U.S. retail stores fell by 6% year to year, marking the ninth monthly decline in the last 12 months, according to the NPD Group. Console makers fared better as a result of price cuts over the last year.

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