Not that you’d expect otherwise given Game Pass, word-of-mouth, and all of the other factors in play
Unshakable Halo fans and cautiously hopeful “I’ll play it if it turns out well” onlookers were eager to see how Halo Infinite would land, and — no surprise here now that the launch-window dust has settled — the game was a huge success for 343 Industries. In a tweet today following Microsoft’s Q2 fiscal year 2022 earnings report, the company called Halo Infinite “the biggest launch in Halo franchise history.” The current count: 20 million players.
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. pic.twitter.com/d4EIsvWYVr
— Halo (@Halo) January 25, 2022
From the outside looking in, that record-breaking status seemed to be where the goalposts were for Halo Infinite. It had to deliver! Not only because it’s been a while and Halo has needed this refresh, but also because momentum is picking up for Xbox at large and Game Pass specifically. There’s the free-to-play multiplayer factor, too.
As a point of comparison — doubly so as a game that has also done particularly well for its respective series — Forza Horizon 5 has clocked in 18 million players, as recapped by Niko Partners senior analyst and Gaming Twitter bestie Daniel Ahmad.
Putting 20 million Halo players into perspective
“Of course the context around the [20 million, best-in-series-history] numbers is that Halo Infinite is available on Game Pass (25M subs) and the multiplayer is F2P on all platforms,” noted Ahmad. “However, that’s exactly the strategy for Xbox first-party. Reaches a broader audience than prior games, long-term monetization.”
It’s a good day for Halo fans, even if we’re bummed about the lack of co-op and Forge (for now) and we have specific hangups with multiplayer playlists or progression on any given week. At the same time, as Microsoft continues to bulk up with head-turning acquisitions like Activision Blizzard, the future of this industry, and the much-wider tech scene beyond strictly “video games,” is very much being written. It’s exciting and scary all at once.
I’m a simple guy, so I’ll say much: Infinite is an overall great step forward, and I hope the next game doesn’t keep us waiting for too long — momentum does matter here. I think everything else in the works for Halo at large can now fall into place piece by piece.
This easily could’ve been disrupted with a bad launch. I’m glad Halo Infinite got here.