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XBox (Games) Businesses Microsoft

Halo 'No Longer Just a Game' For Microsoft 115

Posted by Zonk
from the hasn't-been-for-a-while dept.
News.com has a piece looking at the way that Halo has transformed from game to franchise for Microsoft and the Xbox. Despite the heavy advertising and branded products that seem to be everywhere in anticipation of next week's launch, the company is still trying to keep the IP as pure as possible. "Microsoft is wary of watering down Halo, meaning it would rather walk away from deals for Master Chief pajamas or Covenant sippy cups. Microsoft had little experience in talking to toymakers and others about how to transfer an onscreen experience to real objects. But such experts exist in the licensing arms of movie studios, so Microsoft partnered with 20th Century Fox to act as the main licensing agent for the Halo brand. Items that did not make the cut were a Halo-themed lottery ticket, lingerie modeled after a female hologram character, and toy guns based on the game's weapons. Instead, fans can expect high-quality action figures from McFarlane Toys, a tabletop game from WizKids, and replica weapons for mature buyers."
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Halo 'No Longer Just a Game' For Microsoft

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    • by EggyToast (858951)
      So did cups -- you can get your collectible official Halo 3 Big Gulp at 7-11.
    • by Varvs (1105931)
      if you read the article again, youll see that the TOY guns did not make the cut, but the replica, laser-tag system did. From above: Instead, fans can expect high-quality action figures from McFarlane Toys, a tabletop game from WizKids, and replica weapons for mature buyers."
  • Just having a character named "Masterchief" always seemed like overkill to me.
    • Re:"MasterChief"? (Score:4, Informative)

      by tacroy (813477) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:13PM (#20688099)
    • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:14PM (#20688121) Homepage
      Just having a character named "Masterchief" always seemed like overkill to me.

      Well, it was supposed to be Masterchef [answers.com], but they couldn't get Steven Seagal to sign on, so they had to change it at the last minute.
      • Yeah, apparently, Seagal refused to do it unless they gave him another chance to deliver his "Nobody beats me in the kitchen" line.
        • by LKM (227954)
          Also, the game would be pretty boring if your character could easily destroy all oponents with the flick of your wrist. Although... Steven Seagal's fighting style would make a pretty good Wii game!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kurokaze (221063)
      Because Master Chief (in actuality it's Master Chief Petty Officer, but Master Chief for short) is a rank in the US Navy, the highest non-commissioned officer rank.

      And wouldn't you know it.... practically all space games use naval terminology.
      • Re:"MasterChief"? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1.hotmail@com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:59PM (#20688809) Homepage Journal
        It never confused me at all; I'm ex-Navy and it made perfect sense to make the main hero a Master Chief.
        They are godlike characters, answerable to no one; they can not be busted in rank in any normal fashion, Officers fear them, enlisted both fear them and are protected by them.
        • by kurokaze (221063)
          It never confused me either (I'm army). The Master Chief would the equivalent to a Chief Warrant Officer of a Regiment, pretty much answerable only to the CO (although technically he is answerable to the officers, but that doesn't happen in practice).
          • by fractoid (1076465)
            "Chief Warrant" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, somehow...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by paganizer (566360)
            Actually it's the same as Sergeant Major (E9), rankwise. in practice it's different, A Navy command Master Chief is differed to by everyone but the actual Officer in charge of the command, and they will be darned polite.

              Navy also has warrant ranks, the only difference is in the navy you have to be a Chief (E7+) before you make warrant, while in the Army you can get there from E5+.
            • by Slider451 (514881)
              In practice an Army Command Sergeant Major is the same as a Navy Command Master Chief Petty Officer. They both report directly to an O-5 or above, depending on what level of command they serve. And nobody has authority over them except that CO. Sounds the same to me.

              I don't know about Navy warrants, but you can theoretically be an Army warrant officer right out of high school if you're accepted into the aviation program. Army helicopters are primarily flown by non-prior service warrant officers. Other techn
            • by kurokaze (221063)
              Sounds similar to what I described, except that Seargeant Major is an appointment, not a rank (Canadian army, see my comment below).

              So if the Chief is the big fish on ship, why bother going up to Warrant?
          • Actually, that's not 100% accurate; the Navy has their own Warrant Officers, which are outside the enlisted scope completely (much like yours). Chiefs and up can go to Warrant Officer, which... seems pointless to me; they lose respect, and don't gain anything more than some money, and only in some cases.

            Master Chief is the direct equivalent of the Army's Seargeant Major.
            • by kurokaze (221063)
              Oops, I should have clarified. I'm with the Canadian Army. And as such, the rank of Seargeant Major isn't a rank at all, but rather an appointment. This appointment can be held by anyone with the rank of Warrant Officer or above. Of course there are different types of Seargeant Majors, Regiment SMs, Brigade SMs, Area SMs, etc. Typically, these are staffed by people who have the rank of a Chief Warrant Officer, the highest non-commissioned rank we have in the army.
        • by bynary (827120)
          My former boss was a retired Master Chief, and let me tell you you did not want to get on his bad side. We didn't work for the company or the CEO; we worked for him. That went both ways though, like you said. That meant that no one could get to us without going through him. It was, quite possibly, the best management structure I've ever worked in. That is until senior management decided to maliciously undermine him. He resigned and so did I. He is definitely on my list of most respected people ever.
    • by njfuzzy (734116)
      Ah, but you haven't seen his daughter from the adult-only sequel they have planned.
    • Re:"MasterChief"? (Score:5, Informative)

      by powerlord (28156) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:33PM (#20688447) Journal
      Well ... I haven't played any of the Halo series (not my cup of tea), but I always assumed that Master Chief was just the guys title. Similar to how you see the some characters referred to just by title in Books/Movies, I assumed that referring to this faceless character by title only was a plot device to help draw the player into the world, since the dialog would refer to someone/something they could be, instead of using a third parties name (that wasn't theirs).

      In the "Real World" U.S. Navy & Coast Guard [wikipedia.org] "Master Chief Petty Officer is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank (E-9) in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Senior Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer. They are referred to as Master Chief in most circumstances."

      From the bottom of the same Wikipedia page: "In the Halo video game series, SPARTAN-117 (John), more commonly called the Master Chief, the protagonist of the series, holds the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in the United Nations Space Command."
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I just have to say, both my father and grandfather acheived the rank of Master Chief in the Navy. When I was growing up and I told kids that my dad was in the military, they always asked me what rank he was. I always felt a little let down when I saw that "Master Chief" never got the same recognition as "Master Sergeant" or even "Corporal", because I felt that it didn't accuratley describe what a tough son-of-a-bitch my dad was.

        Thanks to Halo, however, the title "Master Chief" gets the name recognition it
  • Why don't game companies capitalize on their characters? With increased game development costs this could offset those greatly. Back in the 80s there was tons of Nintendo gear around - action figures, pillow covers, sheets, cups, t-shirts, etc. Really, I don't understand why they don't have stuff like this. It would sell like mad.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Probably the #1 reason Mario even got popular :)
    • I miss my Pac Man sheets. I wonder if anyone sells retro ones in Queen size these days.
      Oh, never mind I share that bed with a female. Yes, I'm new here.
      • by brjndr (313083)
        I used to have a transformers tent that attached to my twin bed like sheets. My mom gave it away after we got older, but during my freshman year in college when I shared a room in the dorms I thought about how useful that would have been when a girl stayed over.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by markbt73 (1032962)
          Do you really think Transformers sheets would have helped you to get a girl to stay over?
    • They have to be very careful in today's political environment. For instance, a "Halo" lunchbox, pillow-case, etc. opens them up to the "marketing to children" charge, not something they want to face for an M rated game.
      • by tarun713 (782737)
        Yeah, I know this story is about Halo, but speaking from a wider perspective about licensing in general for even the characters aimed at younger kids - Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, Ratchet & Clank, Jak, basically anyone from Smash Bros., or heck, to target an older demographic, Liberty City shot glasses, t-shirts can be made with any characters, with inside jokes from games and things.
        • Liberty City baseball bats, Liberty City golf clubs, Liberty City brass knuckles, Liberty City pistols, Liberty City cars (with convenient hot-wire accesibility panel!) and my personal fav, Liberty City branded hookers! (right on the small of their back!)
      • For instance, a "Halo" lunchbox, pillow-case, etc. opens them up to the "marketing to children" charge, not something they want to face for an M rated game.
        Then do it with characters from Piñata Crossing [wikipedia.org] or Banjo-Kazooie or some other Rare game (but not Conker, as that's M too).
      • You're right, and me without mod points

        In today's political environment (in the US at least), a lunchbox based on a M-Rated game would cause hell. But you can have a lunchbox based on an R-Rated movie [amazon.com] that tells you 3rd grader that he's dining in hell.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:20PM (#20688239)
      Licensed bedsheets? The game is rated MA. Nothing says virgin quite like a 21 year old with Cortana plastered across your bed.
    • by the_tsi (19767)
      Nin. ten. do. It's a cereal, now!

      Nin. ten. do. For breakfast? WOW!
    • by rtb61 (674572)
      It was a thinner market back then, with less quality games to draw consumer attention. This article comes of more as a fluff marketing piece to keep Halo and the xbox in the news, in the public mind space as yet another boring marketing exercise.

      Halo has only a fraction of the game identity that Doom, Quake or even Half Life had or even non FPS like Starcraft or Command and conquer, and where are they now.

      All it really has is a ton of M$ marketing B$, any bit of crap journalism is good as the game nears

  • by trdrstv (986999) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:08PM (#20688035)

    Items that did not make the cut were a Halo-themed lottery ticket, lingerie modeled after a female hologram character...

    WHY the HELL NOT?!?!?!

  • Crap (Score:3, Funny)

    by FauxPasIII (75900) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:15PM (#20688139)
    My wife would have _loved_ a Cortana teddy.
  • So what are those Halo 3-branded Slurpees at 7-11 then? And the copies that will be sold at gas stations?
  • Hmm, I just assumed it launched yesterday. What? Oh.. no reason.
    • by sjpm (30128)
      Yes, almost funny that their #1 exclusive got leaked again. At least this time it's only a few days. If I remember correctly Halo 2 was leaked WAY in advance (but, oddly enough, in French, made for a very humorous game - "Ah Oui Chef!"). But even so, MS is probably fuming at all the (dumb) people playing it on live already...
  • Uh huh (Score:4, Funny)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:25PM (#20688307) Homepage

    I've got to say, when I first started to see all the marketing crud they are doing for Halo 3 I thought it was pathetic. The "game fuel" thing really clenched it for me.

    I think Ctrl+Alt+Del captured it [cad-comic.com].

  • by joeflies (529536) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:35PM (#20688493)
    then isn't Halo still "just a game", much to the contrary of the highlighted link?
  • by inzy (1095415) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @05:41PM (#20688595)
    "replica weapons for mature buyers"

    haha. yeah right, it's so mature and grown-up walking round with a plastic copy of a virtual weapon from a computer game

    kudos to MS though, for not putting the brand on anything. the lingerie sounds plain tacky
    • by Ringthane (415537)
      "haha. yeah right, it's so mature and grown-up walking round with a plastic copy of a virtual weapon from a computer game"

      You don't "walk around with it." You play with the replica BR55 Battle Rifle when no one's around (your office, den, or basement), and then hurriedly put it back on its altar when someone approaches. If you're going to walk around with it, you'd need to put on your home-made $15 Mjolnir Mark VI assault armor. As in:

      http://halo.bungie.org/misc/cb_mcsuit.html [bungie.org]

      and

      http:/ [youtube.com]
  • Halo is the one Microsoft product that has seriously quality, and, indirectly, they got it from Apple (Bungie used to be a mainly Mac game developer, until Microsoft bought them out in 2000. I bet Steve Jobs is pissed about that one.)
    • by Kalriath (849904)
      Uh, no, they didn't get it from Apple. They got it from Bungie. There's a difference.
  • Since this is the last game in the Halo series, how do they expect to keep the franchise afloat on spin-offs alone?
    • You know... I'd really wait on calling it the end of the trilogy before it comes out... with their track record and all.
    • Maybe CAPCOM will lend them some advice, and we'll end up with things like Super Halo 3 Turbo Deluxe Remix.
  • by Allison Geode (598914) on Thursday September 20, 2007 @09:33PM (#20691119)
    I think you mean "Official Halo 3 Covenant Grunt Food Nipple(TM):" For when you've worked up a big grunty thirst.
  • ...when Microsoft issued the PC based HALO 2 at full price. After being out for over a year for XBox.

    Excuse me? Full price for an old game?
  • All this for a game Microsoft bought (stole) from a better company.
  • replica weapons for mature buyers. Yup, nothing says maturity like a bedroom full of replica weapons from da future. "I use these to shoot any women who might wonder in and tell me to grow up".

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