It has been just over a week since the release of the Xbox Series X, and the console launched without Halo, one of Microsoft's biggest franchises. Halo Infinite was intended to release alongside the console, but was delayed over the summer following negative reception to the game's graphics. Halo Infinite is now slated to release sometime in 2021, but an official release date has not been announced. In an interview with Shacknews, Xbox boss Phil Spencer opened up about the decisions behind the delay of Halo Infinite, and whether or not it would have made a difference in sales for Microsoft's next-gen console.
"I wanted Halo Infinite at launch; there was no doubt about that," Spencer said to Shacknews. "And we thought there would have been a special seminal moment because the last time we shipped a Halo and a console at the same time was the original Xbox. When Bonnie [Ross, head of Halo Infinite developer 343 Studios] and I were talking about it, there was something heartfelt about those two things coming together. But the safety and health of the team has got to be first and foremost, and then the quality of the game. Those things have to win over anything else."
Prior to the delay of Halo Infinite, developer 343 Industries had cited the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for the game's then-current state. Spencer's comments on the "health of the team" seems to be a reference to that fact, as well as the crunch that is all too common throughout the video game industry. In a follow-up comment, Spencer stated that the delay doesn't seem to have had any impact on sales for the Xbox Series X.
"Sales are going to be dictated by supply this holiday. I know there'll be press that will want to write, 'Xbox launch lineup versus PS5 launch lineup.' But if they're both sold out completely, I'm not sure the launch lineup had much impact on anything other than maybe some review score," Spencer continued. "It's not going to dictate what, how many consoles we sell. The number one thing that's going to dictate how many consoles we sell is not the competition and it's not a Halo or a launch lineup. It's going to be how many units we can build."
Regardless of how well the Xbox Series X is currently selling, it will be interesting to see what impact Halo Infinite's eventual release will have on the console. The franchise remains near and dear to the hearts of many Xbox fans, and the title should convince a number of them to pick-up the console when it's more readily available. In fact, releasing Halo Infinite when the Xbox Series X is easier to find could make it easier to see the direct impact on the console's sales. For now, it seems that Microsoft may have made the right move pushing the game back!
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