Update, 5:02 pm ET: Since our story went live this morning, Microsoft has confirmed the leak below as authentic. Halo Infinite indeed it will include the series’ first free-to-play multiplayer content on console when it launches later this year. Microsoft has sent a link to its news in its response to our questions. The company has yet to clarify whether there is an impact of related rumors about the Xbox Live Gold service.
Halo Infinite it can offer free access to its multiplayer modes, if it wants to believe some text that has now been removed from an online store listing from the UK.
The pre-registration page for the X-Series pre-orders at the English retailer Smyths Toys included a section on Halo Infinite which, earlier this morning, we mentioned the game that will include an “innovative free multiplayer gaming experience,” as well as “up to 120 fps” frame rates. That section has been removed from the current version of the page in the last few hours but can still be seen in the latest Google Cache (and this picture from the Internet Archive).
A free-to-play multiplayer mode would be a great start to this Hello games (and for all Xbox titles), which required a paid Xbox Live subscription for online gaming since the day of the original Xbox. The wording may also suggest that the multiplayer portion could be a completely separate free-to-play app similar to recent Activision Call of Duty: Warzone.
While a unique, short list for retail is far from confirmation (and Microsoft has yet to respond to our request for comment), the listing comes weeks after Windows Central suggested a similar possibility of free- to-play for the game’s multiplayer modes, based on “Unconfirmed rumors that sources close to Central Windows have revealed.” Developer 343 Industries was also recently described Halo Infinite as “the beginning of our platform for the future” rather than a continuation of “those numbered titles that have all that segmentation we had before,” perhaps suggesting a willingness to shake up the status quo for multiplayer mode of the series.
Apart from Hello, Microsoft recently removed the one-year Xbox Live subscription option from its online store, leaving a three-month subscription as the maximum purchase period (although one-year subscription cards are still available from retailers with other retail). Microsoft has also been pushing Xbox Live Gold subscribers to convert their remaining subscriptions to an Ultimate Game Pass subscription with inexpensive offers in recent months.
Some observers think these shifts suggest that Microsoft may soon get rid of Xbox Live Gold completely in order to focus on Game Pass (and its library of hundreds of downloadable and soon to be streamable games) as the its leading subscription gaming service. If that happens, online multiplayer could finally become a free option for Xbox gamers, as has been done for PC gamers as a matter of course.
While Microsoft recently released eight minutes Halo Infinite A single-player game, developer 343 Industries said more information on multiplayer modes will be coming later in the year. If the online modes of the game are indeed going to be free to play, most likely when we get official confirmation. Meanwhile, though, 343 denied that the delay in pre-release footage means multiplayer modes will be delayed after the launch of the Xbox Series X later this year.