Despite the Xbox Series X really beginning to lock down a strong foothold in the incoming duel against the Sony PS5, some massively disappointing news has just broken that Xbox gamers will hate hearing. And especially those who had planned to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play one specific game.
That's because Halo Infinite, the single biggest exclusive game that Microsoft had lined up for the Xbox Series X launch, and the reason why millions of gamers the world over no doubt were planning to upgrade to the next-gen console, will not be arriving this holiday season after all.
The news was broken on Twitter (opens in new tab) by Halo Infinite's developers 343 Industries, who made the position perfectly clear:
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9fAugust 11, 2020
"We have made the difficult decision to shift our release to 2021", stands out, as too "it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday".
The reason for Halo Infinite slipping is put down to "multiple factors that have contributed to development changes".
Now, while most gamers will be very sympathetic to 343 Industries' struggles, with the exceptional circumstances of 2020 at the forefront of everyone's minds (keeping people safe should always be the priority), the binary conclusion and harsh reality of this development is that Xbox Series X is now left without its strongest exclusive launch title, and gamers the world over will not have a copy of Halo Infinite securely tucked under the Christmas tree this year.
Which, in turn, leaves the Sony PlayStation 5 lining up a console war-winning home run. Now, not only is the PS5 taking an incredible install base lead into the next-gen, with its own suite of awesome launch PS5 games, but its big rival is entering into battle with its launch arsenal of Xbox Series X games severely damaged.
How many Xbox gamers, no matter how die-hard they are, will be happy watching their PlayStation 5-owning friends tearing it up with top exclusives this winter, while they face up to months more of waiting for the next Halo?
Indeed, how many will think twice about ringing up an Xbox Series X at launch at all?
The history of video game console launches shows that really top-rate exclusives are a big driver in getting people to upgrade from last-gen hardware, and with Halo Infinite now a no-show, that could have a dramatic impact on Xbox Series X sales during its launch window.
All of which would likely lead to Microsoft being left with another uphill battle in the next console gen, which even a reported cheaper price point and technically more powerful hardware might struggle to combat.
After all, it is games that always make the biggest impact on how popular a console is. Gamers aren't stupid – they want to play games, and they want to play great games. No matter how powerful your console is, if there are no good games to play on it then gamers will not be tricked – just look at how the Xbox One got destroyed in sales last gen by the PS4, with the latter delivering more exclusives over its lifespan.
Yes, great hardware is definitely something gamers want, but not without any new jaw-dropping games to really flex its muscles on. Halo Infinite could of shown the world at launch just what spectacular gaming experiences were possible on "the most powerful console in the world has ever seen", but now that is simply not going to happen.
And, right now, from our perspective here at T3, that leaves Sony and its PS5 one large step closer towards a decisive next-gen console victory.
Hopefully, 343 Industries can get Halo Infinite finished sooner rather than later in 2021, as gamers the world over (including all the team at T3) are desperate to play it. As, despite any delay, Infinite has the potential to be the best Halo game ever made.