An image of a Spartan from “Halo Infinite,” which launched for Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Series X, and PC in December 2021.
343 Industries/Xbox Studios
After years of anticipation, the long-awaited “Halo Infinite” launched in early December 2021.
The game got off to a strong start: By late January, Microsoft said over 20 million people had played it.
However, many of those players appear to have moved on and “Halo” player numbers on Steam are in the gutter.
It’s been just shy of two months since Microsoft’s highly anticipated “Halo Infinite” launched on December 8, 2021 — what Microsoft called “the biggest launch in ‘Halo’ franchise history.”
That’s because, as of January 25, “Halo Infinite” touted a huge new player record: Over 20 million people have played it so far, the company said.
But on Steam, the world’s largest video game platform, daily player statistics paint a much less rosy picture of the game’s reception.
The game’s player numbers average a daily high of 30,000 concurrent players on Steam, according to Steam’s public statistics page, and it usually has about half of that. That’s a significant drop from where it was at launch, when it ranked as one of the top five most-played games on the platform.
Comparatively, the top five games on Steam average approximately a quarter million to a million players. That puts “Infinite” well out of the top 10 and firmly in the bottom 20% of the top 100 games on the platform nearly two months since launch.
An image from the Capture the Flag mode of “Halo Infinite” multiplayer.
343 Industries/Xbox Studios
It’s worth noting that “Halo Infinite” isn’t exclusive to Steam — the game launched on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, and through Microsoft’s own Xbox app storefront on PC. As such, the average player count is assuredly higher than what Steam reflects.
However, what exactly that figure is, Microsoft isn’t saying; when pressed for more information, Xbox representatives pointed to a tweet from late January that states that 20 million people have played the game to date and declined further comment.
That said, Steam is significantly larger than any other platform with over 120 million monthly users. And Steam isn’t the only indication that interest in “Halo Infinite” is waning: Twitch viewership reveals a similarly tiny audience.
The most-viewed games on Twitch — like “Grand Theft Auto V,” “Fortnite,” and “Apex Legends” — average over 100,000 viewers. “Halo Infinite” averages fewer than 10,000 viewers, according to Twitch’s public data.
Despite the current situation, major updates are expected later this year that could make a big difference.
In May, the game’s “Forge” mode is expected to lauch, which enables players to create custom multiplayer game modes. And the multiplayer section’s first official “season” will kick off at the same time — two major opportunities for a so-called “live service” game like “Halo Infinite” to regain a substantial player base.
Whether it can regain its position on Steam, and keep players coming back, remains to be seen.
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