Recently, a listing on the Smyths Toys website suggested that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer experience might be free-to-play. Assuming that this is indeed the case, this new direction is a bold one — and one that will potentially come with both benefits and drawbacks.
Here’s how we think the Halo franchise could benefit from a free Halo Infinite multiplayer, as well as some of the concerns we have about such a system.
The Good: No barrier to entry, high player count
On top of this, Halo Infinite’s esports scene would most likely flourish since players of all skill levels can get involved easier. If the Forge mode (a branch of the multiplayer experience) is free as well, Halo’s map-making community will grow, too.
It’s also important to note that Halo Infinite multiplayer being free would no doubt swell the active player count to a number well beyond what it would be if it cost money. If the game turns out to be good, then so many people talking about and playing the game will help bring it, and Halo in general, some much-needed popularity. Halo’s multiplayer has struggled to grab the gaming community’s attention for more than a few months from Halo 4 on, but a free-to-play model can help Halo Infinite climb that hill.
The Bad (potentially): Microtransactions, issues with cheaters
Thankfully, we know this specific form of microtransaction won’t be in the game based on comments made by 343 Industries Studio Head Chris Lee. However, that doesn’t mean that other forms of microtransactions won’t be in the game. Ideally, 343 Industries should create a system with two goals in mind: no pay-to-win advantages in any game mode whatsoever, and the preservation of the ability for players to unlock cosmetics through reasonable amounts of gameplay. A system where players can choose to pay for cosmetics they want is fine, but restricting the player’s ability to earn them by playing or allowing players to get an in-game edge over others would be problematic.
Secondly, Halo Infinite being a free-to-play game on PC naturally raises concerns about cheating. If cheaters don’t have to worry about spending money on a new copy of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer after being banned, it will be signficantly easier for them to resume their antics. Destiny 2, which went free-to-play in late 2019, stands as a perfect example of how cheaters can run rampant when there isn’t a monetary incentive to discourage cheaters from hacking. Players constantly complain about hackers ruining the gameplay experience in competitive Crucible modes like Survival and Trials of Osiris, and despite Bungie’s best efforts, the issue still persists far into 2020.
It should be noted, however, that this problem can be rectified with extensive anti-cheat systems. For instance, Valve’s hit tactical shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive went free-to-play in 2018, and the developers have managed to stay on top of cheating ever since.
Conclusion: Exciting, but only if supported properly
Halo Infinite is expected to launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Windows 10 PCs during the Holiday 2020 season. For more on the game, don’t miss our article on five gameplay details you might have missed from the official gameplay reveal.
The next adventure in the saga
A new Great Journey awaits
Halo Infinite is nearly upon us, and it’s sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more.