Halo Infinite's multiplayer has only been out for a week, and the North American Halo Championship Series Opens are already garnering more attention than Call of Duty League. It is unsurprising, considering the state of Call of Duty: Vanguard, but no one could have anticipated such a meteoric rise in such a short space of time. After all, it was only a little over a week ago that we didn't even know the game would be out by now.
Earlier this year, media outlets such as ourselves were heralding the ride of Call of Duty League, who broke records in May during their second year. Since then, however, CDL has seen consistently low viewership numbers in Season 3 Matchups. There seems to be a growing lack of enthusiasm and interest in CDL content, and whilst this is possibly related to the format of the competition itself, it could likely be due (at least in some part) to the declining quality and popularity of Call of Duty games themselves.
Things are getting so bad, in fact, that popular esports commentators are beginning to speak out about how Halo Infinite has managed to achieve a peak of about 40,000 concurrent Twitch viewers this weekend during the North American Halo Championship Series Open Series. Jake Lucky, famous for his esports coverage, tweeted the following on Sunday night:
A Halo Open Qualifier on a Sunday night, [when] Europe is asleep, is having viewership [numbers] which [challenge] most CDL Matchups this past season. Take that in.
The phenomena is not, however, limited to a single reason. Halo Infinite's surprise multiplayer launch was a huge critical and commercial success last week, not only bringing in a huge number of players, but garnering enormous amounts of good-will and positivity within the public and critical community.
The reasoning behind this good-will is pretty simple. Gamers and critics like to spend money and engage with products that are well-built, polished, and of a high standard of quality. Players are gradually growing more disenfranchised with disingenuous cash grabs like Call of Duty: Vanguard and Battlefield 2042.
With the Halo Infinite multiplayer launch having sat firmly in between the release of those two games, 343 Industries and Microsoft have managed to take advantage of the vacuum left by these monumentally disastrous games. After all, Battlefield 2042 has been labelled Steam's worst user-reviewed game, and Call of Duty: Vanguard sales are down by 40 percent, compared with Black Ops Cold War. Let me remind you: Black Ops Cold War didn't sell that well, either.
Not only have the two other shooter monoliths of 2021 stumbled and crashed harder than a derailing train, but Halo Infinite's multiplayer released with everything required to support a competitive scene. The Halo Championship Series launched merely days after the game did, and along with the fact that the game is insanely well polished for something technically still in Beta, you don't need a rocket science to understand why the numbers look the way that they do.
HCS has launched to tremendous success, and its organizers should be commended for that. Let me remind you that the game is technically not even out yet, and their numbers are already impressive. Halo Infinite's success should also be directed towards 343 Industries and, even more so perhaps, towards Microsoft, who allowed the game adequate time to be polished and prepared for a smooth launch.
Halo is back.— Jack "CouRage" Dunlop (@CouRageJD) November 22, 2021
This should be eye opening to ANY developer in gaming.
Halo launched with EVERYTHING ready to support their competitive scene. Now, they're seeing record level numbers for their first online tournament.
I'm ready to cast. Get me in the booth one time, @Halo.
The focus was clearly on making a high quality product, and that has surely benefited Halo Infinite in the long run. We won't be talking about Call of Duty: Vanguard in a year's, hell, in half a year's time. Battlefield 2042 will continue to be an example of why a game should be polished and of a high-standard of quality before it launches. Ironically, and for a completely different reason, it seems that Halo Infinite also teaches us that same lesson.