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I've got a bit of a good news/bad news situation for all you Jacks and Jills this morning. The good news is that Microsoft has finally confirmed that the Xbox Series X will launch in November, a little under three months from now. The bad news is that the next-gen console will not be launching with Halo Infinite, the game was clearly to be the jewel in the crown of the Xbox Series X launch lineup.
Developer 343 Industries confirmed in a blog post that the much-anticipated sci-fi FPS has been pushed back to 2021. The studio explained that this is "to ensure the team has adequate time to deliver a Halo game experience that meets our vision".
"The decision to shift our release is the result of multiple factors that have contributed to development challenges, including the ongoing COVID-related impacts affecting us all this year," the post continued. "I want to acknowledge the hard work from our team at 343 Industries, who have remained committed to making a great game and finding solutions to development challenges. However, it is not sustainable for the well-being of our team or the overall success of the game to ship it this holiday."
Microsoft then released its own statement, reminding fans that there are plenty of other reasons to buy an Xbox Series X later this year. The company also, finally, narrowed the console's release window down from "Holiday 2020" to November 2020. We all kind of assumed this is when the Xbox Series X would launch, but it's still good to know for sure.
"We have plenty to keep you busy until Chief arrives," Microsoft wrote. "There will be thousands of games to play, spanning four generations, when Xbox Series X launches globally this November and over 100 optimized for Xbox Series X titles, built to take full advantage of our most powerful console, are planned for this year.
"And with brand new console features like hardware-accelerated Direct X raytracing, framerates up to 120 frames per second, faster loading times, and Quick Resume for multiple games, playing will look and feel better, no matter which games you choose to play on day one."
While Microsoft stopped short of confirming exactly when in November we can expect the console, recent leaks have suggested that it'll be very early on in the month. An Xbox Series X controller that appeared in the wild earlier this week hinted at a November 5th release date, and The Verge reporter Tom Warren has uncovered evidence that the console itself could launch as soon as November 6th.
I suppose the real question now is exactly how well the Xbox Series X will fare without Halo Infinite in its corner as a launch title? It'll certainly be fascinating to see how Microsoft deals with this challenge as we inch ever-closer to the launch of its next-gen console.
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