During today's Xbox 20th Anniversary stream, the team at Microsoft reminisced on some of the things that have made the console special over the last 20 years. Inarguably, the staying power of the console can be attributed largely to the legendary Halo series, something not lost on Microsoft today. To celebrate the milestone, the team at 343 Industries have launched the multiplayer portion of Halo Infinite today, with the campaign still to come on December 8th.
The announcement had been leaked over the weekend, with speculation that team Xbox was going to do something big to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their console. Today, at the end of the stream, it was made official. Players can jump into the Multiplayer Beta of Halo Infinite either on Xbox or PC today for free. The beta is available across the Xbox family of consoles, as well as the Microsoft Windows 10 store and on Steam.
Via the Xbox Wire post:
"As a thank you to the Xbox community for 20 years of support, 343 Industries launched the free-to-play Halo Infinite Multiplayer Beta and Season 1 three weeks early, available starting now for all players on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Windows PC. It will also be available via Xbox Cloud Gaming starting later today. Players can enjoy the Season 1 content including all maps, core modes, Academy features, and Battle Pass, and all of their progress carries over into the full Halo Infinite launch on December 8. "
Players are able to jump in today, and progress will be carried over when Halo Infinite fully launches on December 8th, 2021. Even though this is a beta, as the team at 343 Industries explains, today marks the first day of Season 1 of the free-to-play multiplayer mode of Halo Infinite. This also gives the team a chance to test the systems at a much larger scale ahead of its full launch.
"Why is this release a beta? Our previous Multiplayer Technical Previews went a long way to battle-testing our services and infrastructure. But as we prepare for a significant increase in the number of players jumping into Halo Infinite on launch day, December 8th, we want to ensure all our systems are good-to-go. While you may experience some bumps and bugs during this beta period, it does mark the official start of Halo Infinite Season 1, with all day-one maps and modes enabled as well as the full Season 1 Battle Pass. This means all the Battle Pass and customization items you earn or purchase during the beta will stay with you after December 8th."
Season 1, Heroes of Reach, will be extended as well from now through May 2022, which marks a change from 343I's goal of a new season every three months. As to why Season 1 is extended, the team states it is to ensure quality of Season 2 before releasing it in a way that is both "healthy and sustainable" for the development team.
You can check out the full details on the Halo Waypoint blog post, or jump right into the beta today on Xbox consoles, PC and later on today Xbox Cloud Gaming.