Xbox boss Stephen McGill thinks that offering access to the Halo: Reach beta exclusively through Halo 3: ODST will be a tantalizing bargain, and will prove more successful than Halo 3's beta with Crackdown.
Gamers who pick up Halo 3: ODST next week will be given a special code that will eventually grant them access to the multiplayer beta of Halo: Reach, the prequel to the series set to hit shelves next year. This code will be exclusive to ODST, and Microsoft's Xbox head of entertainment Stephen McGill told MCV UK that he thinks that the promotion will help sell ODST to fans of the series:
The only way to access this beta will be through the Halo 3: ODST disc, so we feel there's another extremely compelling reason for both fans and newcomers to the franchise to experience Halo 3: ODST.
We saw the success of this mechanic with the Halo 3 multiplayer beta that came on the Crackdown game disc and the continued sales momentum and excitement generated around that title throughout its lifecycle, and we fully expect Halo 3: ODST to exceed that achievement.
To be fair, McGill is probably right - beta access is a pretty sweet goody, since who doesn't like playing a game before everyone else? I have no doubt that the prospect of Reach will make more people buy ODST. I just can't imagine that it'll be as successful as the Crackdown promotion at all.
For one thing, they're games in the same series. If you're a big enough Halo fan to buy a game just to get access to the multiplayer beta, you'll probably be picking up ODST anyway, because... uh, it's a Halo game. Meanwhile, getting Halo 3 early might have gotten people to look at Crackdown who would have otherwise never given the game a second look.
For another thing, I just can't imagine that Reach's multiplayer will be significantly different from Halo 3's. With Halo 3, it was the first next-gen installment, it was changing things up from Halo 2 with a ton of new vehicles and weapons, etc. It was the final game in the main trilogy, and even if fans are looking forward to Reach, I doubt it'll be quite as hotly anticipated.
So sorry, McGill - I can buy that the beta promotion will help move ODST, but believing that it'll be more successful than what they did with Halo 3 and Crackdown is another story altogether. And it certainly won't have the draw of sexy Cap'n Tightpants Nathan Fillion, oh no.