Halo Infinite is the latest example of Microsoft making a commitment to PC gaming. Take that for what you will, since Microsoft tends to recommit to PC gaming once every few years, then gradually shifts its focus back towards Xbox consoles over time. The last time it happened was at the PC Gaming Show in 2015, when Microsoft released a handful of Xbox games on PC — and then promptly stopped.
Still, between Xbox Game Pass for PC and a slate of Microsoft titles now available on Steam, Microsoft’s focus on PC gaming already seems a lot stronger than the last time around. An Xbox Wire blog post further elucidates Microsoft’s PC gaming strategy.
The big focus here is how Halo Infinite will use gaming PCs to deliver the best possible experience across platforms. But there’s also some interesting information for game developers, who will soon earn 88% of net revenue from games they sell on the Microsoft Store, as opposed to the industry standard 70%.
Halo Infinite PC cross-play and cross-progression
First and foremost, here’s what we know about Halo Infinite’s PC version. We know that it will be available on PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One. We also know that it will be available as part of Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription ($15 per month, if you want both console and PC games).
The Xbox Wire posts hinted (but did not confirm) that the game will also be playable on Android and Web browsers via the Xbox Cloud Gaming Service. And also reveals some specific information about the Halo Infinite PC version.
“We have been working closely with the PC community to ensure that Halo Infinite offers a premier PC experience, including highly desired features such as support for ultrawide and super ultrawide screens, triple keybinds, a wide variety of advanced graphics options and more,” writes Matt Booty, head of Xbox game studios. “We want to make sure that Halo is serving the PC community.”
This alone arguably gives Halo Infinite on PC a big boost over its Xbox counterpart. While Xbox Series X does support 4K resolutions and 120Hz frame rates, it doesn’t offer anything on the ultrawide front, making it a tough sell for gamers who find 16:9 aspect ratios quaint. Naturally, if you have a really powerful GPU, you can also push the graphics past what an Xbox Series X offers.
There’s also some good news specifically for multiplayer fans: “We’re excited to announce Halo Infinite will support multiplayer cross-play and cross-progression when it releases later this year.”
“That means if you’re playing on PC, you can play with your friends on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It also means that your multiplayer customization and progress will follow you across all platforms,” Booty added.
While cross-play and multiplayer progression is much more widely available now than it was back in 2015, it’s still by no means guaranteed. The recent multiplayer shooter Outriders, for example, had to spend a lot of time fine-tuning its cross-play system, and doesn’t offer cross-system progression at all.
It’s also worth mentioning that while Microsoft offering 88% net revenue on games doesn’t have any direct impact on consumers right now, it might in the future. That’s because developers might choose to sell their games on the Microsoft Store earlier, or at lower prices, to take advantage of Microsoft’s plan. Right now, the Microsoft Store doesn’t offer a great user experience, but that could change with the Windows 10 Sun Valley update later this year.
Microsoft was arguably the king of PC gaming back in the ‘90s, and who knows? Perhaps it could be that way again soon.