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Microsoft doesn’t seem to care where you buy Halo Infinite

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It’s already listed on Steam

Master Chief holds his helmet at his hip Image: 343 Industries/Microsoft

Microsoft showed off the first gameplay from Halo Infinite during Thursday’s Xbox Games Showcase, but another surprise was slowly bubbling up with very little fanfare: Halo Infinite is already listed on Steam, with a release date of “Holiday 2020.”

It’s another piece of the company’s plan to meet the customer where they are, not where Microsoft wishes they would be. It’s also a show of confidence on the part of Microsoft. If someone wants to buy Halo Infinite for the Windows PC, through Steam, let them. A cut of the sale goes to Valve, sure, but it’s still another person dipping their toe into what Xbox has to offer.

The importance of making sure that as many people are playing Xbox games as possible, wherever or however they’d like to buy them or play them, has thus far separated Sony and Microsoft.

“I think the fundamental difference is that we’re trying to grow an Xbox ecosystem,” Xbox head Phil Spencer told Polygon in a recent interview. “We’re trying to build that around the player and give the player choice. If they choose to play on their television on a console, we want to have absolutely the best console experience. And I think we have that.”

So if that same person would like to access the game through Game Pass and get access to every other game we saw at Microsoft’s event today, that option is also right there. It’s hard to justify the cost of a $60 — or potentially more — copy of Halo Infinite when the entire Xbox world is available on your console and PC through the Game Pass Ultimate for $15 a month, anyway.

Microsoft has also already found success in other games by putting them on Steam, with Sea of Thieves having its busiest month in June and selling over one million copies through that platform.

So go ahead and buy Halo Infinite from Microsoft, through Steam, or access it using your Game Pass subscription. Microsoft doesn’t care, since the current goal is to grow the ecosystem and keep players coming back to the platform as much as individual games. Microsoft doesn’t really care how or why or why you pay for it and play it ... but it sure hopes you do, even if that means giving Valve a portion of the sale price.