And no, that’s not just from seven crisp-guzzling geeks in Kentucky with too much time on their hands. Microsoft actually signed up 820,000 Xbox 360 owners for its Halo 3 multiplayer beta test, which means an average of 14.6 hours per participant.
More numbers: in total the beta generated 350 terabytes worth of downloads from Microsoft’s server. And particularly popular was the feature allowing players to record their games and send the footage to friends – 580,000 saved films were created by beta testers.
It’s the latter point that’s most interesting, as Halo 3 looks set to be at the forefront of a new breed of console games tapping into the user-generated content phenomenon. It could be hugely powerful – gamers love bragging to their mates about how ninja their gaming skills are, and the ability to send them footage as proof is icing on the cake.
This could go much further though. Imagine if Microsoft made it easy to upload your Halo 3 vids to YouTube, so people outside the Xbox Live community could marvel at your skills too? Or if they introduced a mobile element to Xbox Live, so that whenever a friend posts a new film, you could stream it to your phone.
I love future-gazing, me. The truth is that Halo developer Bungie is probably more concerned with finishing off the final release of Halo 3 than throwing in an extra layer of Web 2.0 complexity. But it’s a thought for future versions.