Sunday, December 4, 2022

The ‘Halo Infinite’ Numbers We Can See Do Not Look Great

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Halo Infinite

343

Halo Infinite is meant to be a “platform” for an entire generation of Halo going forward in the Xbox “Series” era, but after solid numbers at initial launch, Infinite does not seem to be performing terribly well over the long term, at least in the context of its competition, and how outsized a franchise it’s supposed to be in Microsoft’s roster.

Here are some Halo Infinite facts that I find somewhat notable and worrying here just three months after launch:

Halo Infinite is on the verge of falling out of the top 10 most-played games on Xbox, and old favorites that do have engaged, long-term playerbases like Apex, Fortnite, Warzone, GTA 5, Destiny, Roblox and Rainbow Six Siege have all passed it.
Halo Infinite is a poor performer on Twitch outside of major events. It routinely has sub-1,000 viewers (704 at the time I’m writing this), putting it far outside the top 100 most watched games on Twitch most of the time.
On Steam, Halo has dropped from a peak of 256,000 players to more recently around 13,000. Halo: The Master Chief Collection has about half as many players on PC despite being released in 2014. Again, it’s routinely outside Steam’s top 100 games while shooter competitor fixtures like CSGO, PUBG, Destiny and Apex remain near the top.

Halo Infinite

343

And it should also be noted that Halo Infinite is either as widely available or more so than many of its competitors, given that its multiplayer component is free, and its campaign is available through Xbox Game Pass.

The Halo community does not seem terribly satisfied with the way things are going, and despite lengthy 343 blog posts on the game, its issues and the future, the meat of what’s coming does not seem to be all that transformative. Next season, for instance, which will arrive six months after the first, will bring two new maps and a few new modes, and features like campaign co-op still won’t make it to release by the premiere of the season. Halo feels like it’s very much struggling with the “live” component of being a shooter while its competition has been doing this sort of thing for years, and it’s playing catch up. And I suppose there are broader questions about whether the Halo “style” of shooter is still relevant in this age of battle royales and elimination-based tactical games.

Obviously Microsoft is not giving up on Halo and Infinite did perform extremely well for the franchise at launch. But figuring out what happens from here has been a real pain point for 343 and the community it’s trying to please, and I’m wondering when and if Infinite can catch its second wind.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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