Should Xbox Series X Launch Without Halo Infinite?

To say the Xbox Series X’s launch lineup is looking a little thin without Halo Infinite would be a gross understatement. At the moment, it sounds like Xbox Series X’s launch lineup will include new games such as The Medium, but as Microsoft’s own press release regarding the Xbox Series X’s November launch window seemed to emphasize, most early adopters will be relying on next-gen ports of games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like a Dragon for their next-gen games fix.

We should note that we still don’t know what the PS5’s launch lineup will include either, but by the end of the year, PS5 gamers could be playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the Demon’s Souls remake, and Godfall, along with a similar selection of next-gen ports of current-gen games. The quality of new next-gen releases is always subjective, but Microsoft could soon find itself in the all-too-familiar position of losing the exclusives race to Sony from a sheer quantity perspective.

There’s also the COVID-19 factor to consider. The prospect of releasing a next-gen console in 2020 (the year that keeps on giving) has undeniably been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you look beyond the health risks of releasing a next-gen console to physical stores, which many people still rely on to buy consoles, even in an increasingly digital age, there’s the economic impact of the pandemic to consider. The fact is that there are many people who simply can’t justify spending $400+ cost of a next-gen console at the end of the year no matter how badly they want one.

343’s own statement is a reminder that employees at many studios have been forced to work from home for much of this year, which already resulted in numerous game delays as well as concerns that games released this year could end up being rushed and force developers everywhere to endure the all-to-common industry horror known as “crunch” just to get them out on time.

Put it all together, and you’re left with the prospect of Microsoft releasing a next-gen console without its biggest game against some considerable competition in the midst of a global pandemic that has made the prospect of buying a single next-gen console, much less the idea of buying two, much more challenging. That sounds like more than enough justification for Microsoft to do the formerly unthinkable by delaying the release of the Xbox Series X until Halo Infinite is available and the world is a bit closer to being back on its feet.

Yet, if you boil the question down to whether or not the delay of Halo Infinite should be justification enough to delay the Xbox Series X, then I’d have to say no. After all, such a delay would be a clear example of Microsoft admitting defeat.

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