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I’m honestly not sure whether initiatives like this work as well anymore but Microsoft intends to mimic what it did for Halo 2. You may recall the now well-known (and to some, infamous) “I Love Bees” campaign MS pulled for Master Chief’s second outing. In that instance, MS didn’t do a particularly great job of hiding what the URL was referencing; it appeared at the very end of a Halo 2 video trailer. It appears MS doesn’t care about being covert with the Halo 3 effort, either. The XBOX division sent out a “mysterious” email that linked to this website. There have also been sightings of people on street corners handing out fliers with the question, “Who are the Ancients?” Not that I’m saying these campaigns are ineffective — already hundreds of people are posting and speculating on the links and info hidden between the lines — but are they really doing anything for MS. And by that I mean are they moving the needle on more sales? Ultimately, the Halo 3 base that is most excited about the game are probably the only ones interacting with this tease so by that measure it’s probably not doing much. If MS is interested in generating new stories then it’s likely to have that effect. What makes MS’ viral efforts effective is that the company isn’t reluctant to hold back juicy, not-yet-revealed information from being discovered through these programs. Unlike some gaming companies that end up failing to deliver any exciting pay-off, Bungie/MS have given up some major details in the form of storylines and in some cases character shots and screenshots. Granted, this is the final game in the trilogy so there might be some diminishing level of interest, but this is still likely to help contribute to the crazy hype machine that is Halo.