Halo 3, one of the most anticipated videogames for the Xbox 360, will be released as a public beta on May 16, 2007 and will end on June 7, 2007. The online multiplayer element of the game (three maps available: Snowbound, High Ground and Valhalla) will be made available to the public with feedback going to Bungie developers. On the website of Halo creators Bungie, content manager Frank OConnor said the beta would contain "quirks, a couple of roughedges A lot of secret features are hidden in this beta. Were keeping a lot of our powder dry for Fall."
Halo 3 is expected to be released in the last quarter of 2007 and is a key weapon for Microsoft in its rivalry with Sony and Nintendo. More than 14.7m copies of Halo titles have been sold and more than 800m hours of online Halo games have been played. The game has become an important franchise for Microsoft and has evolved into an industry which encompasses action figures, graphics novels, books and clothes.