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Halo 3 beta officially closed

The Halo 3 public multiplayer beta, which was open to gamers who purchased specially-marked packages of Xbox 360 title Crackdown, has come to an end.

The Halo 3 public multiplayer beta, which was open to gamers who purchased specially-marked packages of Xbox 360 title Crackdown, has come to an end.

"The participation in the Halo 3 beta was staggering," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president at Microsoft Game Studios.

According to Microsoft, more than 820,000 people took part in the beta from its initial launch on May 16th through June 13th. Users logged in 12 million hours of game time - the equivalent of one person playing non-stop for nearly 1,400 years.

Thanks to the high level of participation, Bungie has plenty of feedback if it chooses to adjust gameplay before the official release.

More than 350 terabytes of data were downloaded from Xbox Live for the Halo 3 beta - the equivalent of more than 82 million digital music downloads from the Internet.

Users also took advantage of the new "saved-film" feature, allowing them to record, save, and share videos of their games an estimated 580,000 times.

"Witnessing such a great reaction to a small portion of the game has been inspiring. It's a testament to the fervour and anticipation that surrounds Halo 3," Kim said.

"We're confident that on 26th September Halo 3 will drive an unprecedented wave of new gamers to the Xbox 360 platform and Xbox Live."

To capitalise on this level of interest, the company is releasing a range of Halo 3-branded products. Two limited-edition wireless pads designed by Todd McFarlane will be available at or shortly before launch at a cost of USD 59.99 (GBP 34.99), with a wireless headset in the Spartan colour scheme retailing for USD 59.99 (GBP 34.99).

A new Halo book, comic mini-series, and Halo-themed Zune (USD 249) have also been announced but are currently unconfirmed for Europe.

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