Microsoft has confirmed the Halo Infinite multiplayer will be free-to-play on the upcoming Xbox Series X; in addition to having “greatly reduced load times” and being capable of running at up to 120 FPS. All in all, making for quite an enticing offer.
The news was first leaked by an associated retailer – as most leaks are in the gaming space – and swiftly taken down soon after. But, as per the standard, not before ample screenshots were taken and circulated to everyone who gave half a damn. Choosing to get ahead of the story instead of waiting for the story to just happen around them, the official Halo Twitter account responded with the following:
The decision to make the multiplayer aspect within one of Xbox’s most popular flagships raises some questions – specifically regarding how they plan to monetise the experience going forward; or if they’ll even monetise the experience at all. Moreover, this may be indicative of a wider and more radical change coming.
As the reports are indicating, Microsoft is possibly looking to “kill” Xbox Live Gold period. For those of you out of the loop, this is the ongoing paid subscription service required to access online multiplayer (similar to PlayStation Plus). Even for free games such as Fortnite and so forth. How can Microsoft afford to scrap what is ostensibly a steady stream of revenue?
As broken down by Forbes, it has everything to do with betting big on a new subscription services known as Game Pass. Granting players access to releases across Xbox and PC, Game Pass is positioned to become the new standard with far more streamlined economics behind it. Essentially, while games such as the Halo Infinite multiplayer and Fortnite will become free-to-play with nothing more than an internet connection, and despite technically being an opt-in service, Microsoft still stands to win:
“Instead of getting $60 a year from the majority of players, Microsoft will either be getting $120 a year from 12-month x $10 Game Pass subscriptions, or $180 a year from 12-month x $15 Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions… Maybe knock that down to $100 and $150 respectively with some kind of deal or bundle, and lo and behold, you still are making far more than when $60 a year XBL Gold subscriptions were the standard.”Paul Tassi, Forbes
The real question remains – will it be enough to win over lifelong PlayStation fanboys in the next-gen console war?