Microsoft unveiled Halo 4 a week ago and it seems that the console game is breaking records across the globe. It is becoming clearer that the Xbox console is very important for Microsoft. Imagine saying that out loud 10 years ago. I can imagine the answer being; “Microsoft is a PC company and not a gaming business” as a retort to the Xbox 360’s importance.

The Halo franchise has been something of a winner for Microsoft. The console game has sold millions of copies and “Master Chief” has become somewhat familiar to the Xbox 360 console. The first person shooter game is popular through providing action in a science fiction location. However this year Microsoft faces a direct competitor for sales in the first person vertical called Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The user wins in both cases as they will be buying a first person shooter console game.

What is of interest with Halo 4 is it features a new story-driven game mode,  “Spartan Ops”, that can be played solo or cooperatively on two player split screens and on Xbox Live with up to three other players. Multi game play online has become a must have feature for game developers and is no longer considered a ground breaking feature.  Xbox as a platform is increasingly leveraging its strengths as a counter to other gaming consoles. You can use more functionality on an Xbox than on any other console in my opinion, which is a great proposition for prospective owners.

Consider that Black Ops 2 is available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U and PC. This is 2 of the biggest gaming franchises going head to head. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 sold over $500 million on its opening weekend in the US. Has the time come for Microsoft to remove the exclusivity from the Halo franchise and make it available on the other consoles?

What the end total to sales for Halo 4 is anyone’s guess. It is currently at over $220 million. The impact of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on the sales numbers will be interesting to follow..