Halo 3 multiplayer beta over

Loads took part.

The Halo 3 public multiplayer beta is officially over, and so the countdown begins to the full launch on 26th September.

More than 820,000 of you took part, notching up a considerable 12 million hours of game time - which is apparently equivalent to one person playing solidly for 1400 years. And you know what that means. Yes, you gobbled up over 350 terabytes of data and even shared roughly 580,000 saved films, presumably of you shooting the snot out of your friends.

Microsoft is well chuffed.

"The participation in the Halo 3 beta was staggering," said Shane Kim, big cheese at Microsoft Game Studios. "Witnessing such a great reaction to a small portion of the game has been inspiring. It's a testament to the fervour and anticipation that surrounds Halo 3."

"We're confident that on 26th September Halo 3 will drive an unprecedented wave of new gamers to the Xbox 360 platform and Xbox Live."

So, to celebrate, we're being treated to some fancy new merchandise. Two new limited-edition wireless pads will be available at or shortly before launch. One will take inspiration from a Covenant Brute, with the other based on Master Chief. Both are designed by comic book maestro Todd McFarlane and will cost GBP 34.99.

There's a fancy wireless headset sporting the Spartan green and gold colours, too, which will also set you back 35 smackers. Cop your eyes on these new pieces in our Halo 3 peripherals gallery.

A new Halo book, comic mini-series and Halo-themed Zune are also planned, but currently unconfirmed for Europe.

We got our hands on the multiplayer beta a touch earlier than you lot, and spouted out all kinds of coverage. You can find it all singing happily in our Halo 3 gamepage.

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