Microsoft surprises with early Halo Infinite multiplayer launch today

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Microsoft is surprising Xbox fans today with an early launch for Halo Infinite multiplayer. Rumors of the early Halo Infinite multiplayer drop appeared over the weekend, and Microsoft is now making it official as part of today’s 20-year Xbox anniversary.

Halo Infinite’s cross-platform multiplayer mode should now be live for everyone on Xbox One, Xbox Series S / X, and PC to try out in beta. This beta includes access to season one with all the core maps and battle pass features. Any progress in the multiplayer mode will also carry over to launch day on December 8th.

Initially, there were a few hurdles downloading it from Xbox or via the Windows Store — at first, the free-to-play game only showed up as part of a paid Xbox Game Pass subscription, and some players had issues launching it as well. Microsoft suggested players might want to reboot their consoles, and Halo community director Brian Jarrard confirmed that some players were experiencing errors on launch since “the build is still publishing and rolling out.”

At first, the game didn’t offer a free download option.
Screenshot by Chaim Gartenberg / The Verge

But we’re now seeing the game working on Xbox, and we had no issue firing up matches on PC via Steam from the get go. They did take a bit longer than you might expect to load, lingering on the startup screens. On Xbox, it’s a 25GB install; Steam starts with a 23.7GB download expanding to 26GB installed.

343 Industries, the developers of Halo Infinite, first started previewing the multiplayer mode of the game in July. A Halo Infinite multiplayer preview in late September was available to all Xbox players. We couldn’t get enough of the multiplayer mode of Halo Infinite, and it felt like an exciting return to form. But do note that if you played the beta on PC, you’ll need to rebind any controls you’ve changed. The new release appears to be using a different client than the earlier test flights.

November 15th marks 20 years since the original Xbox debuted alongside Halo: Combat Evolved. Microsoft announced the Halo Infinite early multiplayer drop during a special anniversary stream celebrating the 20th anniversary.

It’s no surprise that the Xbox event featured Halo heavily today, after more than 81 million copies of Halo games have been sold worldwide. It’s a popular franchise that saw more than 3 million players of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC and Xbox One during its launch week.

Here’s the full Halo Waypoint blog post about Halo Infinite’s multiplayer launch, including a list of which game modes and features it does and doesn’t include. Here’s a chart of the PC system requirements, too.

Update, 2:43PM ET: The game now seems to be working (and free-to-play) on Xbox as well.

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