Despite a relatively mixed reception, Halo Infinite has seen the strongest launch for the series in more than a decade.
Halo Infinite's multiple delays seem to have paid off. After the disaster of Craig, and that awful presentation, the game's surprise multiplayer launch back in November boosted the game into the stratosphere in terms of player numbers. It doesn't hurt that the multiplayer is also free-to-play, and that the Campaign is available for free on Game Pass. Honestly, though, we're about to dive into it but whatever the reason for its success, it certainly beats Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty: Vanguard... Seriously, those games sucked!
The thing about Halo Infinite is that, whilst it has been plagued with problems since launch (the whole Battle Pass kerfuffle is a prime example), the game's bones are all there. Halo Infinite's gameplay is absolutely incredible, making its multiplayer and single player experiences both an absolute joy to play, despite their various shortcomings. Sure, Master Chief's story might not have come to a satisfactory conclusion – though there may well be Story DLC coming later this year – and the game's multiplayer may have a some real issues with cosmetics, but boy-oh-boy is Halo Infinite still a blast!
343 Industries hardly had an easy time developing their latest entry in this classic shooter franchise. Since the somewhat disappointing Halo 5: Guardians, the studio has worked for six whole years producing a game that was originally going to have an open world as big as Breath of the Wild. Now, that didn't end up happening, but with the combination of delays and poor fan-reception after the game's initial gameplay demo, Halo Infinite's development cycle was hardly a walk in the park.
Halo Infinite is Insanely Successful
Considering all of this, it becomes increasingly crazy that Halo Infinite has welcomed over 20 million players since it launched. This makes it the most successful launch for any Halo game ever, and one of the most successful game launches of all time. On January 26, the official Halo Twitter Page itself even came out to talk about it, tweeting the following:
With over 20 million Spartans joining us so far, we're thrilled to announce that #HaloInfinite is the biggest launch in Halo franchise history! Thank you, everyone, for joining us on the next step in this great journey.
Let's take a moment to think about this. Twenty million people. 343 Industries must be absolutely frothing over these numbers, and for good freakin' reason! Consider it this way: Romania has less people living in it than Halo Infinite has players. That also goes for an absolute tonne of other countries. In fact! It goes for all the countries that are ranked below 60th in terms of global population numbers. Yes, I am a nerd. Don't tease me, please, I am busy.
With over 20 million Spartans joining us so far, we're thrilled to announce that #HaloInfinite is the biggest launch in Halo franchise history!— Halo (@Halo) January 25, 2022
Thank you, everyone, for joining us on the next step in this great journey. pic.twitter.com/d4EIsvWYVr
In the end, though, we have to think about the reasons behind such numbers. With more than 20 million players in a period of less than two months (if you consider the game's launch as December 8), then this kind of uptake is unprecedented for such a game. This is not Warzone, this is not FIFA, this is one of the biggest franchises in gaming, but it is not to that kind-of level, so to see the reasons behind its success we need to look at the reasons behind it.
Halo Infinite's Multiplayer is free-to-play, and its Campaign is on Game Pass, making the game much easier to get into than previous Halo titles, which would traditionally have cost around $60 USD on launch. This low entry-cost means that the game will quickly garner players, much like what happened with Warzone back in 2020, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it has the same longevity as its competitors. We'll have to wait and see what happens. Perhaps a Battle Royale could keep Halo Infinite going, perhaps its weekly challenges will do the trick. Only time will tell.