Halo Infinite unlocks at 1PM ET today, sadly the disc needs a download


Remember midnight releases?

Halo Infinite unlocks at 1PM ET on December 8 (that’s today!). That means even if you own the disc now legally via a retailer, you can’t play until then. Just in case you’re trying to log into the game right now, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening.

Confirmed by 343 Industries, Halo Infinite actually isn’t out until 1PM ET. The company actually put out a detailed map of when it unlocks in each region, with the UK notably not able to play it until 6PM GMT. I hope no one took off work! Folks who picked the game up via a retailer at a classic midnight launch were met with dismay as they popped the disc in and were told to finish downloading the game…at launch.

Doing a bit of digging, I found this response from 343’s Philosohraptors that explains the situation:

“I understand the confusion and in an ideal world, we would have enabled pre-load. However, there are technical limitations. Since ‘Halo Infinite‘ is the base-game executable and is already available for download, there’s no simple way for us to ‘time gate’ some parts of the build (campaign) and not others.”

It’s not ideal, especially when it comes to the release of one of the biggest games of the year, and the current generation at that. We knew about this unlock time since roughly November 19, but there is no way to even pre-load the game. Microsoft is also seemingly getting away from the “swap your Xbox system to New Zealand to play it early” trick.

When you do download it, the file size will vary depending on whether or not you have multiplayer installed already or not. There’s a full breakdown here from the Halo support team.

Once it’s out though, it’s out! And it’s pretty good!

Find out when #HaloInfinite releases in your region: pic.twitter.com/oKd3qCEV0p

— Halo (@Halo) December 7, 2021