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October 5, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn – is it a movie or a really long ad?

Posted by David Hunter at 10:23 AM ET.

Microsoft Skips Theaters With ‘Halo’ Film on YouTube

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s full-length, Hollywood-style movie based on the next “Halo” video game will skip the big screen, streaming instead on Google Inc. (GOOG)’s YouTube before heading to store shelves as a DVD.

The Redmond, Washington-based maker of the Xbox console, promoting the November release of “Halo 4,” has taken the unusual step of creating its own 90-minute movie, at a cost of almost $10 million.


Microsoft plans to release weekly installments of “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” on the Web before offering the game and DVD, a move that highlights the influence of new media, including promotional options and the ability to cut out traditional channels like theaters. The film airs starting tomorrow in five 15-minute segments on the YouTube channel Machinima Prime, leading up to the game’s debut on Nov. 6.

“We’re either the best-funded Web series of all time, a sort of mid-road healthy TV pilot, or a super-low budget movie,” director Stewart Hendler said in an interview.

The clips of “Forward Unto Dawn” will stay online through Nov. 23, then disappear until Dec. 4, when a Blu-ray disc goes on sale that includes an added 15 minutes, for a suggested $28.99. The film will also be available for download from Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iTunes, Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace and other online movie stores.

I’m voting for a really long ad. You may recall that at one time Microsoft had plans for a big budget Halo movie that never worked out.

Filed under Microsoft, Xbox

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