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Microsoft hints at 'HaloCon' event

Who needs E3 anyway?

Microsoft's very own Mr Halo has told Eurogamer that Bungie's series could soon be getting its own dedicated event to rival the likes of BlizzCon and QuakeCon.

Speaking to us immediately after the Halo Wars and the Halo Universe panel yesterday at Comic Con 2008 in San Diego, O'Connor, who earlier this year quit his post as Bungie community manager to oversee Halo at Microsoft Games Studios, insisted the franchise was "big enough at this point that it can stand on its own".

"You can do a HaloCon. Nothing on [the scale of Comic Con], but you could bring a few hundred people just to see a Halo thing. We're really not worried about Halo's ability to stand out and shine in the future. There's plenty of stuff coming."

While making it clear that no formal planning had yet been undertaken, he explained that the "passionate and loyal community" had made the prospect of a standalone Halo showcase attractive. "We do things for [the communtiy] all the time. Bungie has done fanfests at E3 and it would be lovely to see something bigger, something more ambitious in the future."

O'Connor also moved to play down the furore over Microsoft's decision to pull a new Halo reveal from its E3 conference, stating: "It's E3, it's complicated. You saw the Microsoft press conference - there was a ton of stuff. And someone, somewhere decided strategically that another time is better, and it will be, and there's going to be an announcement and it's going to be awesome.

"Halo gets plenty of attention, and Halo will get plenty of attention if there's any new stuff to announce."

He refused to be drawn on the timing of the announcement, quipping: "I wouldn't know anything about that! Halo can stand out at E3 or stand out at another time." And after a lacklustre E3 earlier this month, which has drawn sharp criticism from across the industry, O'Connor said it was time that consumers were involved.

"E3 is what it is now, but I still think there's space for a really big consumer videogames show. If you look around Comic Con, people are doing business here, people are unveiling things, they're revealing stuff. But the people who are enjoying it are the people we're making the games for, and it's a really unique experience and one the industry could get tremendous value from.

"At E3, the fans are there, they're just using the Internet. Why not charge them an entrance fee and make the thing a profit centre rather than a loss leader?"