Bill Gates is used to monopolies, and he's got one with the video game Halo. The game, which received rave reviews from Electronic Gaming Monthly, is touted by Microsoft as a "futuristic odyssey that challenges players to save humankind from extermination by aliens."

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced plans to produce a relatively small run of 200,000 Xbox systems packaged with the title, along with a controller and game unit that will be shaded in "Halo green" later this month. While new users are obviously being targeted, die-hard collectors are also expected to be very interested, at least according to Microsoft.

Just like the good ole opposable thumb, exclusivity and limited editions are a distinct selective advantage that help a company and its products survive the Darwinian world of business. Being able to sell what no one else can -- in this case, the disadvantaged competitors are Nintendo (NASDAQ:NTDOY) and Sony (NYSE:SNE) -- confers a differentiated brand proposition. Limiting the production schedule of a certain item tends to increase the value of said item, whether it is a worthwhile thing or not.

Another reason why such a maneuver is a smart move relates to the storied delay of the sequel to Halo. The very popular game will see its second edition arrive in stores this September. Please don't hold me to that, though. The release date has been pushed back as many times as the script for Indiana Jones 4 has been rewritten.

The hype for Halo 2 will begin its buildup with the bundle and will pollinate a new wave of users salivating for the sequel. The recent price cut for the Xbox can only help.

The trend of limited-edition marketing is only going to get bigger. Retailers, such as Target (NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), have been courting exclusive, short-produced inventory more aggressively in the past few years, especially in the area of toys. If a customer wants that special Barbie collector's doll by Mattel (NYSE:MAT), or Hasbro's (NYSE:HAS) new edition of Darth Vader, often they have to trek to a specific retailer. That's a good deal all around, since premium prices can be charged and demand is oftentimes -- if not always -- strong, depending on the product. Further, the retailer has less inventory to manage.

It doesn't take much effort to envision a more fervent release of limited-edition video game systems down the road; certainly, this wasn't the first. I'd offer a bit of a tweak to the strategy: Release exclusive/limited bundles that offer the only chance to get a certain hot property, like the next Star Wars adventure or the next Pokemon parade, for a while. That would sell systems and hype the software simultaneously.

And to all you Halophiles out there desperately wishing for a time machine so you could transport yourselves to the day when Halo 2 finally comes out: I know, I know...

David Gardner recommended Hasbro, as well as video game software developers Electronic Arts and Activision, for subscribers of Motley Fool Stock Advisor . You can check out the newsletter for six months with a money-back guarantee.

Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the stocks mentioned here.