Microsoft's alien-killer gaming thrill, Halo 3, has broken the US sales record for a new video game by earning an estimated $170m in its first 24 hours on sale, the company said last night.

The performance beat the previous record setter, predecessor Halo 2, which raked in $125m within 24 hours of its launch.

That's not all. Halo 3 has beaten other records as well. More than 1.7 million copies of Halo 3 were pre-ordered in the US, making it the fastest pre-selling game in US history, Microsoft said. The game also drew over a million Xbox Live members to play online in the first 20 hours on offer, making it the biggest day for Xbox Live gaming in history.

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The video game industry has enjoyed sizzling sales this summer in the US according to the industry researcher, NPD Group. In August, video game software sales rose nearly 23 percent year on year to $488m, while overall industry sales totalled $993m, including consoles and other hardware.

Sales figures for Halo 3 were collected for the US only, and the figure will likely stand much higher after Microsoft tallies results from overseas. Halo 3 launched in 37 countries at midnight on 25 September and is available in 17 languages. It retails for around $60.

The title could go on to become one of the top international sellers of all time, but it faces stiff competition. The top selling console game of all time, not originally bundled with a console, is Pokémon Red, Blue and Green, at 20.08 million units, according to figures compiled from the website Magic Box's Japan Platinum Game Chart and its US Platinum Videogame Chart..