Despite early success, recent months have shown how much Halo Infinite is struggling, even in comparison to a game with an infamously bad reputation. Infinite's initial Fall 2021 release was fairly well received - despite numerous expected Halo features absent at launch - in part due to the game's free-to-play multiplayer, with only optional in-game purchases for cosmetic items and season passes. Despite this, in under a year Infinite has seen an extreme nosedive in player count, at least on Steam. For a franchise that historically has been known for long-term multiplayer appeal, this is a bad sign - especially considering developer 343 Industries' post-launch support of the title.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Meanwhile, another Fall 2021 shooter has continued chugging along - Battlefield 2042. Steam user reviews for DICE's most recent entry in the franchise have never been kind, with "mostly negative" all-time reviews, and recent reviews only getting as high as "mixed." Despite this negative reception, 2042's launch was still a high for Battlefield, which sold 4.2 million copies in its first week.
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Neither game is doing exceptionally well based on Steam player counts. As of July 2022, both games' tend to peak between six and eight thousand concurrent players daily, and both saw significant jumps when new seasons launched earlier in the summer. However, 2042's new and returning players may have stayed on while Infinite didn't. The most recent numbers indicate that DICE's game has seen nearly twice as many players, as a daily average, than Infinite has.
Halo Infinite's Player Count Has Hit A New Low
Additionally, Infinite had previously managed to maintain significantly higher player counts than 2042, but now struggles to do so. The newest content update for 2042 certainly influences these numbers, but this comparison speaks more to Infinite's hardships than a huge resurgence in 2042's popularity. Lone Wolves, the second season for Halo Infinite, had a notoriously rough launch, prompting Infinite's developers to address the backlash and promise changes. Additionally, several promised features which are key to Halo's identity and the success of previous games, like campaign co-op and Forge mode, are still missing from Infinite.
343 is aware of its precarious position, it would seem. It's continued supporting Infinite for months with new game modes, Fracture events, and cosmetics; yet this still doesn't seem to be enough, as the Steam player counts fell quickly after the launch of Lone Wolves. As for Battlefield? The launch of 2042's first season, Zero Hour, breathed some new life into the game, though player counts have once again begun to dwindle, and neither game has been able to lock into a consistent player base in the way Destiny and Rainbow 6 Siege have. Compared to some of the holdfasts in the shooter market, these games really have it rough.
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It's possible that further updates will bring new and returning players back to Halo - promises like Forge mode and the upcoming beta for Infinite's co-op campaign are in the works and will eventually reach audience (and it's a good look for both 343 and DICE that they've both continued to support their work post-launch despite these difficulties). Additionally, Microsoft doesn't typically release player counts, obfuscating how popular Infinite might be on Xbox consoles compared to the data available through Steam; the same holds true for 2042 on both Xbox and PlayStation.
Still, the current numbers don't look good. For franchises that were formerly juggernauts of AAA gaming, both Halo and Battlefield have fallen far from greatness. Should Microsoft be concerned that its flagship title for the Xbox Series X has so quickly lost relevance, less than a year out from launch? Only Microsoft can know that, but while the internal numbers may tell a more complete tale, Halo Infinite clearly hasn't been quite the smash success the company was likely hoping for.