With next week's release of Halo 3, gamers will get their chance to see just what happens to Master Chief at the end of the trilogy.
For Microsoft, it's a golden opportunity to get some positive mojo for the Xbox 360 after a summer's worth of headlines centered around quality problems that forced the company to extend the console's warranty and take a $1 billion charge.
"This is the kind of attention that we'd prefer," said Shane Kim, general manager for Microsoft's game studios.
There is little doubt the game, which goes on sale at midnight on Tuesday, will be a blockbuster release. Brokerage Wedbush Morgan predicts that Microsoft could sell 3 million copies in the product's first 12 days. The 2004 release of Halo 2 brought in $125 million in its first day, a then-record, Kim said. That's a far cry from the kind of revenue that Windows or Office generates in a quarter, but it's still some serious cash.