Halo 5 Has Amassed Over $1.5 Million in Microtransactions

Microtransactions were originally implemented on mobile games which adopted the free-to-play business model. This gave developers the freedom to create a large user-base among casual players and attempt to monetize their creation through optional micropayments. As we all know, this can be a very flawed concept and involve an absurd amount of grinding to experience the game without paying any money. Unfortunately, microtransactions have become an integral component of modern gaming and even included in full priced releases. This is really shocking because microtransctions were designed for a free entry point and not an additional source of revenue for $60 titles. One pertinent example is Halo 5 which allowed players to purchase weapons and items for the Warzone multiplayer mode.

In theory, you can acquire credits through gameplay and there’s no obligation to pay real money. However, it is fairly insulting considering one of the packs has an eye-watering price of $100. These payments go towards funding Halo eSports events which might encourage users to adopt a more forgiving attitude towards these microtransactions. According to Microsoft, the Halo World Championship prize pool has increased to a whopping $2.5 million:

“Since we first announced a starting prize pool of $1 million at gamescom 2015, the winnings for the Halo World Championship has grown immensely due to community crowd-funding via the Halo 5: Guardians REQ System. The final prize pool is now locked and players will compete to win their slice of $2.5 million at the Halo World Championship. And if being the best Halo team in the world wasn’t enough of an incentive, this might be: the first place team will take home a total of $1 million – the biggest individual prize pool in console esports history.”

This means the game has made at least $1.5 million through REQ pack sales. It’s quite shocking to see players spend so much money on multiplayer packs, and emphasizes how rapidly the industry is progressing into competitive play. I do worry though because it’s alienating single player gamers, and the constant onslaught of microtransaction is making consumers very wary of game publishers in the long-term.

Halo Reach Performs Poorly on Xbox One

Microsoft stunned attendees during this year’s E3 expo with the shock announcement that backwards compatibility was coming to the Xbox One at no additional cost. In contrast to this, Sony has decided to charge for digital PlayStation 2 titles and offer PlayStation 3 emulation via a paid streaming service. It’s extremely unlikely for Sony to master PlayStation 3 emulation through traditional avenues due to the cell architecture’s complex nature.

One of the Xbox One’s most popular releases is Halo: The Master Chief Collection which contains Halo 1, 2, 3, and 4. Sadly this collection is devoid of Halo Reach as the story doesn’t center on the chaotic exploits of Master Chief. Despite this, Halo Reach recently gained approval to work on the Xbox One without the need to purchase an Xbox 360. Unfortunately, there are a number of user complaints regarding the game’s performance suggesting it frequently dips to around 10 frames-per-second. One disgruntled user said:

“We need to talk about the HALO Reach port to XBOX ONE. It’s unplayable! I’m getting 10-20 FPS whereas my 360 runs it at a smooth 25-30 FPS… This is unacceptable, I even set my XBOX ONE to run in 720p, but nothing changed!”

Another player had a similar experience and proclaimed:

“What the hell? UNPLAYABLE.is this going to get fixed or what? Why advertise backward compatibility of you can’t even actually play the game?”

Microsoft has acknowledged the current performance problems and issued an official statement which reads:

“We’re aware some users are experiencing issues playing Halo: Reach via Xbox One backward compatibility. The Xbox engineering team is currently looking into the issues and are working to address them.”

Some of you might remember the buggy emulation on the Xbox 360 which made older games unstable or difficult to play. At least Microsoft is looking into the performance problems and hopefully they should be rectified soon. On the other hand, it’s vital for Microsoft to ensure each game runs properly before giving it their seal of approval.

Is backwards compatibility a feature you often use?

Halo 5 Performance Analysed in Digital Foundry Video

Halo 5 has finally been released after 3 years of development and received overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. From a technical standpoint, the game’s performance is fascinating given the lack of horsepower in the Xbox One. 343 Industries prioritized 60 frames-per-second and employed a number of tweaks to keep the experience fluid. For example, dynamic resolution scaling alters the rendering resolution in real-time to maintain 60 frames-per-second. When the action is more intense, the resolution is reduced to stop the frame-rate from suddenly dropping. This is an intriguing solution and appears to work quite nicely.

DigitalFoundry investigated Halo 5’s performance and graphical concessions to reach 60 frames-per-second. Sadly, the game suffers from awful texture pop-in which can become rather jarring. Additionally, the shadows, ground textures, poor AA and limited LOD makes the game look quite dated. Clearly, 343 was incredibly limited in the hardware available and had to make huge compromises to keep 60 frames-per-second. This is a real shame as a PC version could properly show the assets off in huge detail and large resolutions. Although, Microsoft doesn’t seem to have any interest in this for the time being.

343 have done a splendid job to attain 60 frames-per-second but it’s pretty shocking to see a major game of this caliber released with very sub-par graphics. Nevertheless, Microsoft has to accept the hardware limitations and realize how poorly the Xbox One was originally launched.

Halo 5 May Remove Split Screen and LAN Play

Halo 5 developers, 343 Industries, is making waves with some dramatic changes to the way the Microsoft title will be played. Local co-op campaign had previously been officially removed earlier this month, with co-op campaign games requiring Xbox Live Gold to hook players together. Now 343 appears to have confirmed that local multiplayer will also be missing from the title as well, and there are some indications that local LAN play will also be removed as well.

A Halo fan took to Twitter with a screen cap for the Xbox One Halo 5 pre-order page showing a single player limit on one Xbox One, asking if it meant split screening has been removed. 343 head Josh Holmes responded with a vague statement, saying that “All MP modes use full screen on dedicated servers, incl Coop Campaign, Arena and Warzone.” 

This can be taken to mean that all multiplayer modes use full screen when connecting with dedicated servers. It can also be phrased to mean exactly what it says, that all multiplayer modes will use full screen and dedicated servers. The first interpretation is nothing new but the second one is more troubling. While similar FPS games have lost co-op campaign in the past, local multiplayer is a mainstay of many games, allowing a few friends to come together to and challenge each other.

All previous Xbox Halo titles featured local multiplayer as well as local LAN play and losing both will be a shame. Loss of local LAN may become a huge problem for large parties and tournaments in particular. Microsoft has been pushing users to adopt a more online environment but removing well-used features that previous titles had is not the way to go about this.

Halo 5: Guardians Live-Action Trailers Reveal Release Date

http://youtu.be/tHQiYPiNVEE

A pair of new live-action trailers for 343 Industries’ Halo 5: Guardians has revealed the game’s Xbox One release date; 27th October. The trailers, which show Master Chief show-down against new character Spartan Locke, present two different outcomes, which each character getting the chance to point their weapon at the other, climaxing with the #’HUNTtheTRUTH hashtag.

http://youtu.be/9rd8FWUCCZk

The release of Halo 5 is set to coincide with the Steven Spielberg-produced TV show, which looks increasingly likely to find a home on the Showtime cable network.

Source: The Verge

The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta Starts Today On Xbox One

Microsoft has announced that it has launched the Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta today, which was meant to launch a few days ago. Thanks to it launching late, the company will now let it run through to January 18, 2015.

The company has teased some of the bonus goods that come with the pre-order of any of the Halo 5 editions starting today, with the $60 standard version including an exclusive poster. The $100 version of Halo 5 arrives as a Limited Edition, including the poster and “exclusive items” in a steel book case as well as some bonus digital content for the game.

Source: Joystiq.

Halo: Master Chief Collection Receives Halo: Combat Evolve Map Playlist

Halo was one of the best first-person shooters of its time, with some of those old maps being massive fan favourites. Well, now we have Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and its latest update providing a playlist of the original maps from Halo: Combat Evolved.

Before The Master Chief Collection rolled out, 343 Industries – the developer behind the game – promised that we would see the Halo: CE maps after they were able to work out how to “provide the best experience possible.” The developer is obviously there, with most of the tweaks and changes that the game’s required, were built into the latest patch. You can now smack your friends down with some 2v2 battles, and more.

Source: Joystiq.

Breaking News: Halo 5: Guardians Coming In 2015

There are a lot of rumors floating around about the next title in the Halo series, with everything currently pointing to Halo 2: Anniversary Edition for the Xbox One later this year, but what about the main series? Microsoft has just named Halo 5: Guardians, and it’ll be heading to the Xbox One in autumn/fall 2015, so still a while off yet.

The new game will land alongside the new television series, and 343 Industries general manager Bonnie Ross has described the new game as “a massive and exciting project” that “takes full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen”. We should hope so too, given the legacy of the Halo series and Xbox consoles, they need to make this a real console seller, or they may as well pack up their compters and quit the industry.

The sequel was teased last year at E3 with a very vague trailer, no name for the game or anything, but with the next E3 just around the corner, it’s about time someone said something about the new game.

Ross added that with “the scope, features and scale we’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade”, when talking about the game running at 60 frames per second and on dedicated servers. The TV series that launches alongside the new game will be produced in collaboration with the legendary Steven Spielberg and no doubt represents a massive cash investment from both 343i and Microsoft.

“Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine,” said Ross. “It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe.” he added.

Ross teased that there will be even more information about the Halo sequel at this years E3 next month and with such a long wait until the new game is released, it leaves a perfect release window for the rumoured Halo 2 re-release which is expected to launch in November to cater to the Christmas rush, something that has been long awaited after the success of Halo CE: Anniversary.

Now all we have to do is sit and wait for E3, and perhaps it will be the season when the new consoles finally start getting their killer apps, not just generalised multi-format releases and sub-par launch titles.

Thank you CVG for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CVG.