Bungie gave a treat to gamers today, giving us a launch date for the greatly anticipated Halo 3. They have announced that, assuming all goes as planned, the title will be available on September 25th. That announcement was made today, just a few hours before the public multiplayer beta was made available via Xbox Live. According to Bungie, the game is more or less complete - just needing some finishing touches. That is a lot more encouraging than, say, hearing them saying they are pushed for time and racing to meet a deadline. Rushed products often disappoint. The release date might play a bit into marketing, particularly against the PS3:

Although the earlier-than-expected ship date for Halo 3 is a mild surprise, word about the release date may have first slipped from Microsoft Games Studios' Shane Kim, who said in a 1UP interview, "If [Bungie] can get [Halo 3] out before GTA4, they probably feel like that's better, sort of like Xbox 360 coming out before PlayStation 3."
The Halo series is proving to be one the most successful Microsoft and Bungie have ever had, and I certainly hope Halo 3 will continue this trend.