Update: Halo Infinite early access listing error leads to speculation of early release!
This morning at around 9AM Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) the Microsoft store listed a Halo Infinite Early Access Digital Bundle as an upcoming product (Which is not yet available for purchase). We’ve attached a photo below showing this listing in the Microsoft store, a massive thanks to Aggiornamenti Lumia for this story and Zeny at HaloDotApi for the screenshot!
We’ve got out ahead of this news early with our opinion, but speculation is already ripping through the Halo community and the story has already been picked up by multiple gaming news outlets.
As we see it, one of three two has happened:
- A clerical error has occurred, this product has been mistakenly added to the Microsoft/Xbox store and no early release for the game exists
- A clerical error has occurred and this product has been announced / accidentally leaked early before we’ve heard word from official source
The first possibility isn’t really worth discussing, the implications are clear. However, the second possibility has us excited and we think we know what’s going on:
We think it’s very possible Halo Infinite will see an early release; here is why:
A few days ago, on October 27th, Microsoft/Xbox Game Studio’s/Playground Games revealed the different purchase/release options for Forza Horizon 5. You can find that information here, if you are interested! Importantly, it was announced that Xbox Game Pass subscribers have the option (for £39.99 / $49.99) to upgrade to the “Premium Add-Ons Bundle” granting them 4 sets of limited edition in game items and access to the game four days before the official launch!
This leads us to speculate that Halo might see the same treatment!
Forza and Halo are both Xbox/Microsoft owned franchises, central to their first-party games strategy and their movement towards live service games. It seems very unlikely that Microsoft/Xbox would treat these games differently, at least without playing favourites towards one studio or the other. We could also argue that, given Halo’s rich campaign and the risk of spoilers, an early release may not be the right fit for the franchise, whereas that risk is less for a game like Forza. So it is entirely possible that we’re wrong.
As always HaloHub will keep you informed of any and all developments as they happen.
However, let us leave you with a question: The development of Halo Infinite has cost Xbox Game Studio hundreds of millions of dollars to date, and we know Microsoft have taken every opportunity in the past unlock extra money from their games, even at the cost of player experience.
We also know Halo Infinite’s campaign will be free of charge for Game Pass subscribers. So, do any of us really expect that Microsoft won’t take the opportunity to pull in extra money from the game at its launch by offering a very tempting early release bundle?
Update as of November 3rd 2021:
As of November 3rd the Early Access Release bundle page has been removed from the Microsoft/Xbox store. It seems odd to us that this listing was available online for so long; as if it was an error surely it would have been removed very quickly. Once again we’ll keep you informed of any more updates. Thanks again to Zeny for the screenshot and brining this to our attention!