The game's earnings are a good sign for the flagging video games industry and place Halo on a war footing with Black Ops II, the latest Call Of Duty title.
As more gamers migrate from console gaming to mobile offerings on tablets and smartphones, the video game industry has seen its revenues decline.
The performance of both Halo 4 and Black Ops II are being closely watched as a gauge of future demand for the sector.
But unlike Halo 4, Blops II is also available on the PC, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's forthcoming Wii U.
Microsoft said Halo 4's £138m earnings surpassed the previous instalment, Halo: Reach. That took £126m ($200m) on its launch day in 2010.
The company predicted Halo 4 would make around £189m ($300m) in sales in its first week.
Call Of Duty publisher Activision raised its earning outlook last week on expectations of strong Christmas sales of Blops II, saying it hoped the Treyarch-developed game would beat its previous records.
The previous instalment, Modern Warfare 3 - which was developed by Infinity Ward - garnered more than £252m ($400m) in sales on its first day in stores in North America and the UK.
This set a video game industry record - and MW3 went on to take £629m ($1bn) in 16 days after launch.
Black Ops II went on sale at midnight on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS 3, while the Wii U version will not be available until the new console launches at the end of the month.
Analyst Arvind Bhatia said American Revolution-themed action adventure Assassin's Creed III, which launched last month on the 360 and PS 3, had had a similarly good start.
He said a small rise in sales - or even flat sales - from last year for the Black Ops II launch would bode well for the financial quarter.
The first-person shooter is set against the backdrop of the Cold War, but soon transports gamers to a futuristic setting in 2025.
The new title also has a feature that lets participants stream gameplay live on YouTube.
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