Microsoft Says It Didn't Need Halo Infinite To Be A Launch Title For Series X To Succeed

Having Halo Infinite available at launch would have been "tremendous," Microsoft says, but it wasn't meant to be.

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Halo Infinite was supposed to headline the launch lineup for the Xbox Series X/S, but Microsoft delayed the game to 2021 due in part to the impact of COVID-19 and working from home. It's a big loss for the console's launch, as it would have marked the first time since the original Halo in 2001 that a Halo title was released day-and-date with new Xbox hardware.

But in a statement to The New York Times, Xbox spokesperson Cindy Walker downplayed the Halo Infinite delay. Walker said Microsoft of course would have wanted to have Halo Infinite ready for the Series X/S launch, but despite the delay, Walker remains confident that there will be enough games available at launch to encourage people to buy in.

"Having Halo at our launch would have been tremendous," but "we are not reliant on massive exclusive titles to drive console adoption," Walker said. "Our players will have thousands of games from four generations of Xbox available to play on launch day."

After the Halo Infinite delay was announced, Xbox boss Phil Spencer revealed that Microsoft considered releasing a portion of Halo Infinite earlier before deciding to push the entire game to a new release date in 2021.

The "thousands" of games that Walker is referring to comes from backwards compatibility support for original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games. But looking directly at first-party games, Microsoft only has one "new" major game coming, at least so far. The console edition of the strategy game Gears Tactics will be released as a launch title for Xbox Series X/S, and it will also play on the standard Xbox One. An upgraded version of the previously released Gears 5 will also be available on Series X/S on launch day.

Third-party Xbox Series X/S launch titles include Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Dirt 5, FIFA 21, Fortnite, Marvel's Avengers, NBA 2K21, Watch Dogs Legion, and Tetris Effect: Connected, and these games will also be available for current-gen. Check out GameSpot's full roundup of Xbox Series X/S launch titles here.

The Xbox Series X/S is scheduled to launch on November 10, and pre-orders will begin from September 22. The S model costs $300 USD and the X edition is going for $500 USD, and those prices are intentionally low. Xbox CFO Tim Stuart recently explained that Microsoft went with relatively low prices to help create a large install base more quickly.

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