"Halo 3" easily surpassed its predecessor, 2004's "Halo 2," which racked up $125 million on the first day. The $60 game also beat the $59 million U.S. opening-day movie box office record, set by "Spider-Man 3."
"It's a good number," said Andy Miedler, technology analyst at Edward Jones. "This certainly goes a long way toward bringing Microsoft's entertainment division toward that full-year profitability, which we think is important for investors," he added.
The first two "Halo" games have sold a combined 15 million copies and cemented Microsoft as a serious player in a video game industry that was dominated by Sony's PlayStation 2.
Sony's follow-up PlayStation 3 is more expensive than the Xbox 360 and so far lacks any "system-seller" games like "Halo 3."