Even in relation to a game with a notoriously terrible reputation, recent months have demonstrated how much “Halo Infinite” is struggling despite its early success. Despite lacking several anticipated Halo features at launch, Infinite’s original Fall 2021 release was generally positively received, thanks in part to the game’s free-to-play multiplayer and the absence of in-app payments other than cosmetic goods and season passes. Despite this, Infinite’s player count has drastically decreased in less than a year, at least on Steam. This is a negative sign for a brand that has historically been known for its long-term multiplayer appeal, especially in light of the game’s developer, 343 Industries, who has continued to support it after the game’s initial release.
Battlefield 2042, another shooter set in Fall 2021, is still progressing along at a steady pace. The most recent game in the series from DICE has never received positive Steam user reviews, with overall ratings that are “mainly bad” and more recent ratings that are only “mixed.” Despite this unfavorable reaction, “Battlefield 2042’s“ release was still a success, selling 4.2 million copies in its first week.
Neither game is performing particularly well in terms of Steam player numbers. Both games typically have between 6,000 and 8,000 concurrent players per day as of July 2022, and both experienced notable increases when fresh seasons began earlier in the summer. But it’s possible that 2042’s new and old players persisted whereas Infinite didn’t. The most current statistics show that DICE’s game has, on average, had almost twice as many players as Infinite.
Additionally, Infinite once maintained far more players than 2042, but it now has difficulty doing so. These figures are undoubtedly influenced by the most recent 2042 content update, but this comparison emphasizes Infinite’s struggles rather than a significant rise in 2042’s popularity. The second season of “Halo Infinite“, Lone Wolves, had a notoriously difficult launch, which prompted Infinite’s creators to respond to the criticism and make modifications. Additionally, Infinite still lacks a number of previously promised features, including campaign co-op and Forge mode, which is essential to Halo‘s identity and the success of previous games.
It would appear that 343 is aware of its vulnerable situation. Since the release of Lone Wolves, it has continued to promote Infinite with new game modes, Fracture events, and cosmetics; yet, this doesn’t seem to be enough as the Steam player counts quickly dropped. Regarding Battlefield? Although player numbers have once again started to decline and neither game has been able to lock into a regular player base the way Destiny and Rainbow 6 Siege have, the release of 2042’s first season, Zero Hour, gave the game some new life. These games certainly have it tough in comparison to some of the market leaders in the shooting genre.
Updates like Forge mode and the upcoming beta for Infinite’s co-op campaign are in the works and will eventually reach an audience; it speaks well of 343 and DICE that they have both continued to support their work post-launch despite these difficulties. Future updates may attract new and returning players back to Halo. Additionally, Microsoft rarely discloses player counts, making it difficult to determine how well-liked Infinite may be on Xbox platforms in comparison to the information available through Steam. This also applies to 2042 on both Xbox and PlayStation.
However, the numbers as they stand don’t look good. Halo and Battlefield, two formerly dominant AAA game franchises, have fallen far short of excellence. Should Microsoft be concerned that, less than a year after its debut, its bestselling Xbox Series X game has become obsolete so quickly? Only Microsoft is able to answer that question, but even while internal data may provide a fuller picture, “Halo Infinite” hasn’t exactly been the commercial success that Microsoft probably expected.