Microsoft got a whole lot of people to play Halo and Forza

Microsoft seems to have had great success getting people to try out their games. During the company’s earnings call on Tuesday, CEO Satya Nadella said 20 million people had gambled Halo infinite and 18 million people had played Forza Horizon 5. While it’s worth noting that these numbers will include people who played for a few minutes and didn’t keep going, it speaks to the features of the just-download-it-and-give-it-a-whirl model.

Both games can be played at no direct cost; Horizon 5 is available on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, which according to Microsoft has about 25 million subscribers, and Halo infinite‘s multiplayer uses a free-to-play model (though non-Game Pass subscribers will have to purchase the promotion separately).

Although both games have been highly anticipated, it’s hard to imagine that they would have drawn so many players in if they had to pay $ 70 in advance. The data also seem to confirm this – Horizon 5 seems to be the biggest in the series. By the end of 2020, Microsoft announced that 24 million people had played the previous entry in Power series. But it was over two years after the match, Horizon 4, came out, and just over a year later it hit the Game Pass. But the 18 million people who tried Horizon 5 did it in under four months. That’s a lot for a nameless racing game Mario Kart – for reference, in the 2017 study behind Grand Touring the series said that the most popular item at the time Gran Turismo 3 A specification, had sold nearly 15 million copies.

The 20 million people who tried Halo infinite also provide an interesting data point compared to previous entries – before the game was launched, the series as a whole had sold 81 million copies in its 20-year run. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a comparison of apples and oranges given it Halo infinite‘s multiplayer is free to play, and previous Halo games had to be purchased. Downloading a game is much less commitment than paying for one, and there could have been people who tried it and jumped (perhaps because of buggy matchmaking) before they could be convinced to spend money on skins.

Whether or not Microsoft’s goal was to get people to at least give it a try glory, it seems to have been very successful.

The free-to-play model has been proven before – games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and especially Call of Duty: Warzone have all seen massive success. But they also play in a much larger pool, as they are available on Xbox, PC and PlayStation (some are even available on Switch and mobile). The figures released by Microsoft show that they are experiencing some of the success now that most of its exclusive products do not have a mandatory buy-in – now it’s just a matter of keeping these people around and figuring out how it pays off. , whether it’s through people paying for Game Pass, microtransactions or something completely different.

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