Thanks in large part to Xbox Game Pass, Halo Infinite has been played an insane number of times – the largest in franchise history.

Halo Infinite, perhaps one of the biggest blockbuster releases of 2021, was a huge success in its launch period. The game continues to be played by legions of fans, thanks in large part to Xbox Game Pass.

The success of Halo Infinite was so large that Microsoft was quick to point out that the game’s launch period is the most successful the franchise has ever seen. Over 20 million people have played Halo Infinite thus far in the opening period for the game.

This has been a masterstroke for Microsoft with their Game Pass program. Additionally, Microsoft announced that they’d seen record engagement during the same period. Forza Horizon 5, the most recent addition to the storied racing franchise also pulled record numbers, with 18 million playing that title.

This strategy seems to be the key for Xbox moving forward. Games that have a wider install base, cutting down on the cost of initial entry, but also having long-term monetization options like Battle Passes. Events like the recent Cyber Showdown, which offers a line of cosmetics, keep players playing to look their best while leveling up their skills, too.

The impact of Xbox Game Pass on Halo Infinite

Xbox Game Pass has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years for Microsoft. For a company that went from having virtually no exclusives or reasons to play in the Xbox ecosystem, to one of the essential purchases on any gamer’s monthly expenses, really. And games like Halo Infinite are a huge reason why.

Having Halo Infinite on Game Pass means there are some real AAA games on the platform, which more than justifies the value of having it. Indeed, even without a Game Pass subscription, players can whet their teeth on Halo’s multiplayer. Given that Halo has been a huge part of the lives of many players, it’s not a hard sell to get people to log on and try it out.

And once they’re hooked, of course, people are going to want to see the next chapter of Master Cheif’s storied career on their PCs or Xbox. The fact that Game Pass is so prolific on not only Xbox systems but also PC is also a huge factor in the game’s success. You don’t even have to have purchased your way into Xbox’s ecosystem anymore. And Game Pass has over 200 games on PC alone. Compare that with the competition, such as Steam, where you have to buy a game to even try it out.

It’s easy to see why Game Pass has become so essential. It’s a bit like having your own personal Blockbuster Video installed on your PC, with a game selection that never truly runs out. Not only is that good for game discovery, but it’s also great for games that people want to play anyway. And Halo is one of those franchises that people really want to at least try out before buying, given the franchise’s rockier recent entries.

Fortunately, Halo Infinite seems to be a return to form, and it seems that with their plans for esports, could be a mainstay for years to come.


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Dustin Steiner - Americas Editor

Dustin Steiner

Americas Editor | Twitter: @GetSteinered

Americas Editor for Esports.gg, Dustin Steiner brings a decade of esports newsroom experience to bring fans what they need to know, helping them keep their finger on the pulse of esports as it happens. When he's not helping run the newsroom, you can find him grinding it out on Smash Ultimate, Final Fantasy 14, or probably binge watching Gundam.