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You already knew that Halo was a popular series and here are the numbers to prove it.

Just days before Halo 4 debuts next Tuesday (also Election Day), Microsoft announced that since the 2001 debut of the Halo: Combat Evolved, the franchise has sold more than 46 million games bringing in more than $3 billion in revenue.

Another impressive stat: More than five billion online multiplayer hours have been logged by Halo gamers, which translates to over 570,000 years.

Those numbers will certainly increase with Halo 4’s launch next week. The game, which is the first Halo title not developed by Bungie, was first announced in the spring of 2011 at the E3 video game conference and will be the first installment of a new trilogy.

Halo 4 figures to be part of a busy holiday season for Microsoft’s consumer products, with the Surface tablet and Windows 8 debuting last week. “Halo: Reach,” generated around $350 million in revenue in its first months when it debuted in the fall of 2010 and $200 million on the first day.

Microsoft sent us a copy to review and I’ve checked out Halo 4 a bit. On first glance, it seems like 343 has done a good job of keeping some of the Halo traditions around. If you told me Bungie developed Halo 4, I probably would have believed you. That being said, 343 has taken the baton and added its own flair. The campaign’s storyline is effectively compelling, the graphics and visuals are exceptional and multiplayer is still exciting and competitive. So far, it looks like a win for 343 and Halo fans everywhere.

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