January 17th, 2011
From a single download site, the Halo PC demo was downloaded 16,000 times last week. Two weeks ago, it was downloaded 22,000 times. That may not seem like munch compared to other downloads. But keep in mind this is from a single download site. For a game demo that's eight years old!
What's more, it's entirely possible the Halo demo logs upwards of 100,000 downloads per week globally, when considering the dozens of other download sites it's hosted on.
As further proof of its staying power, Yahoo Video Games had the demo listed at number four "most downloaded" last year, right above the popular Call of Duty 4 demo.
How is that possible? "The game is incredibly balanced," says Robot Unicorn Attack creator Scott Stoddard. "I played Halo like crazy on PC. Couldn't stand it on Xbox."
But there are other factors that contribute to Halo's continued demo popularity. It supports free online multiplayer. And you can even setup a 16-person LAN tournament. I know because I have many times over the last decade. Especially on aged corporate desktops, which are more than enough to run the demo.
Admittedly, you can only play a single multiplayer map on the demo (Bloodgulch). And a single campaign level. But throw a few people in the room, and magic happens. It's that good of a game.
In my opinion, it's still the pinacle of Halo. Which explains why the 130mb demo still tears up the download charts.