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Analysts doubt Reach can beat Black Ops

Either across all platforms or just on 360.

A handful of the world's leading videogame analysts have questioned Microsoft's confident claim that Halo: Reach can and will outsell Call of Duty: Black Ops.

"I just don't understand why they would even make such a comment without at least contextualising whether it is just on the Xbox 360 or all platforms," EEDAR's Jesse Divinch told Eurogamer - referring to what UK Xbox boss Stephen McGill said last week.

"If he was referring to just the Xbox 360 version of Halo: Reach outselling all platform sales of Call of Duty: Black Ops, then I would put those odds at Slim to None, and Slim just set sail for the Bahamas."

Michael Pachter - analyst for Wedbush Morgan - agreed, and said Halo: Reach had "no chance overall".

Lazard Capital's Colin Sebastian was of a similar mindset, and predicted: "Overall, Call of Duty [Black Ops] will sell significantly more units than Halo [Reach], clearly due to the multiple platforms."

But on Xbox 360 alone, the analysts were divided. Michael Pachter was confident Halo: Reach "will outsell Black Ops", but Colin Sebastian was on the fence: "On the Xbox 360, we expect the two titles will be neck and neck."

"If I had to predict," added Jesse Divinch. "I'd go with Call of Duty: Black Ops."

Sean Dromgoole, head of SomeResearch and GameVision, characterised Microsoft's intentions as "ambitious".

He pulled out some statistics to prove his point. (Note: GameVision Eyeball Hours are hours spent gaming by "active users" - people aged between 10 to 45 years-old playing a game bought in the last 12 months.)

"Last time we looked, in Spring, COD [all versions, all platforms] had 4.4 million players in the UK who were playing for a total of 74 million GameVision Eyeball Hours per month," explained Dromgoole.

"At the same time Halo [all versions] had 1.5 million players who were logging 16 million GameVision Eyeball Hours per month."

Halo: Reach was released today exclusively on Xbox 360. Call of Duty: Black Ops will be released on 9th November on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Yesterday corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer said: "When it comes to the size and scope of a franchise and especially the dedication of the fans, no game is bigger than Halo."