Microsoft is likely waiting on major competitors to announce their games before it commits to a Halo Infinite launch date.
Microsoft and 343i have narrowed down Halo Infinite's release date and are still confident in a holiday 2021 launch, but other big shooters like Battlefield 2042 and Call of Duty Vanguard might get in the way. It's likely that Microsoft is holding back Infinite's launch until after Vanguard's announcement so they can place the game in a free-ish slot during the holiday season. Holiday 2021 (October - December) will be quite congested with big competing cross-platform games like Battlefield 2042, CoD Vanguard, which should release in November, and Grand Theft Auto V's next-gen release.
In a recent Dropped Frames show on Twitch, Xbox's Phil Spencer discussed what's going on with the release schedule:
"We know kind of our range in the 3-4 week range, we don't have yet the exact day, there's some other things with some other game timing that we're trying to look at. We'll have better clarity after the summer. This isn't a months thing, this its just down to a few weeks. So instead of picking a date and having to move it a week, which at this point would feel like a fail, we don't want to do that, let's just wait until we know what the date is."
"The team is committed to holiday and we feel good about that, and the way Pierre and Joseph are running the team, I feel good about the confidence that we have on both the quality and getting the game done."
Infinite is a big game for Microsoft. It's been in development for years and will has huge live service monetization potential that bleeds directly over to Game Pass. This game could be one of the biggest drivers for Game Pass adoption and retention that we've seen in a long time, and the free-to-play online multiplayer could also lead to lots of monetization.
That being said, Microsoft does have a vested interest in making way for third-party games too.
It's not just about moving their game in a different spot to maximize Infinite's sales, but to also reduce the cannibalization as much as possible. Microsoft makes billions off of third-party games like Fortnite, Warzone, and EA's titles--not to mention Grand Theft Auto V's monstrous game sales and mTX earnings from GTA Online.
So this isn't just about maximizing Infinite's sales potential, but about clearing up spots to ensure titles aren't super congested.
Halo Infinite is set to release Holiday 2021, and will have free-to-play multiplayer on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.
More on Halo Infinite multiplayer
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- 3 cool new things you can do in Halo Infinite's multiplayer
- 343i reveals big changes to Halo Infinite's multiplayer
- Halo Infinite and Doom Eternal can hit 120FPS on Xbox Series X
- Halo Infinite multiplayer will let you practice on tough AI bots
What we know about Halo Infinite's multiplayer
- Free-to-play on consoles and PC
- Cross-play, cross-progression
- Will have paid battle passes
- Bunch of new equipment and weapons
- Up to 120FPS on Xbox Series X and PC
- Training mode with bots
- Seasonal content
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