Halo isn’t just a videogame, it’s a phenomenon—one that spawned a whole franchise.
Xbox Game Studios enlisted Bungie’s help to bring to life the first edition of the sci-fi, first-person shooter game back in 2001, though 343 Industries does the actual game development now.
Rather than wane over the years, the franchise has only gotten bigger, with the recent Infinite game setting a new Halo player count record.
Curious about some more numbers?
Hypnotizing Halo Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- Halo ranks 23rd on Steam’s list of all-time most-played games by peak users.
- 272,586 people played Halo Infinite on Steam concurrently upon release.
- In terms of player count, Halo Infinite ranks right behind Skyrim and Destiny 2 (by about 20,000 players).
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection peaked at 161,000 players.
- More than 10 million people play Halo MCC on PC.
- By 2021, the franchise had sold 81 million copies.
- Halo Infinite made its eSports debut merely a month after it came out.
Some Basic Halo Info to Start
When many people think of Halo, they think of Master Chief.
The supersoldier decked in green-colored armor has served as the protagonist of the series for so long, it’s hard to think about the one without the other.
But when did it all start? When did Halo get popular?
1. The first Halo game came out on November 15, 2001.
Halo: Combat Evolved sounds like a great title for a sequel rather than for an original product—but hey, maybe Microsoft had a hunch it would become one of the biggest video game franchises.
Although Bungie originally intended it for the Xbox console as a launch exclusive, Halo: Combat Evolved also appeared on PC two years later.
But why did Halo get popular enough to warrant a PC port?
Amazing graphics for its time, a solid story, and a previously unseen co-op gameplay.
2. There are around 14 Halo video games (so far).
We say ‘around’ because it depends on how you count them.
Do you just want the main series? That’s six, then.
Spin-offs, too? That’s another six.
But we can’t skip the remasters, can we? Add the anniversary edition of Halo: Combat Evolved and the more recent Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC) and we get to 14.
Given how popular Halo is, it’s no wonder numerous arcade, board, mixed and alternate reality games exist, all based on the franchise. We at Hosting Tribunal wouldn’t call those ‘video games’ per se, but if you want to add them up too, the count easily goes up to 20.
3. By mid 2021, the Halo franchise had sold 81 million copies.
If you count all games across all platforms over the two decades Halo has existed for, the franchise’s sales surpass 80 million copies.
Back in 2015, this number stood at 65 million, which means Halo’s player base is still going up by the millions every year!
In fact, before Halo Infinite came out, the franchise already boasted over $10 billion in revenue.
4. Halo 2 was the most successful Xbox game.
The original Xbox console saw some pretty cool video games for sure, but if we measure success in terms of units sold, Halo was by far the most successful of them all.
Halo: Combat Evolved sold five million units, second only to Halo 2, which sold eight million copies.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Fable, and The Elder Scrolls III follow behind, each with three million units sold for the original Xbox.
Success in Terms of Halo Players
We already discussed how many games there are in the franchise, now let’s talk about how many players enjoy those games.
5. Over 10 million people play Halo: The Master Chief Collection on their PC.
The first game of the collection, Halo: Reach, became available on Steam on December 3, 2019. It achieved the highest Halo player count on PC at the time: 161,024 users.
Granted, it lost 95% of its player base just a month after it came out, but subsequent releases of the games in the collection saw multiple peaks at nearly 50,000 concurrent players. So, we’d say it’s all good.
More than good, actually—10 million people prove Halo’s player base is still one of the most loyal around.
6. Halo: The Master Chief Collection boasts a 93% positive rating on Steam.
And that’s out of more than 160,000 reviews. In other words, 148,000 people loved it and only 12,000 did not. Since MCC is a collection of older games, nostalgia likely played a part here, but we’re impressed nonetheless!
What about Halo Infinite?
Well, it doesn’t seem to be the best Halo game ever. Since its launch, only 79% of reviewers (89,000 out of 113,000) found it good enough to leave a positive comment online.
7. On its first day out, Halo Infinite reached 272,586 concurrent players on Steam.
Halo Infinite came out on November 15th, 2021, to mark the franchise’s 20th anniversary. But that was very much a surprise even for the most avid fans in the Halo player base—the official launch date was supposed to be December 8th.
While the initial excitement has subsided to moderate levels in 2022, the latest installment in the series is not doing so bad, boasting more than 50,000 concurrent players per day.
8. When it came out, Halo Infinite was the second most played game on Xbox.
Microsoft tends to be a bit secretive when it comes to numbers, so it doesn’t share Halo’s exact player count on Xbox. However, there’s a ‘most played’ games page on its store that shows that in terms of popularity, Halo was number two, right behind Fortnite.
This means it ranked higher than behemoths such as GTA 5, Apex Legends, Roblox, and every Call of Duty game—for some weeks, at least.
9. Halo Infinite recorded a peak of 265,291 concurrent viewers on December 18th, 2021.
The finale of a certain eSports tournament definitely contributed to this number—the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021 propelled Halo Infinite to the 16th most viewed spot on Twitch in December 2021.
This means a single event can boost viewership nearly tenfold, considering Halo normally has 20,000-30,000 peak viewers daily.
What do you think? Interested in streaming your own Halo gameplay videos?
Fun fact: In November 2021, fans spent 19 million hours watching Halo Infinite content on Twitch. A month later, that number had seen a 90% drop, reaching only 1.8 million hours.
A Touch of Halo News to Stay Informed
These aren’t the kind of news you’ll see several times a day on just about any TV channel, but for a Halo fan, they’re the real deal.
Ready for some spicy information about the future of the franchise?
10. What’s new in Halo? That there’s no co-op. For now.
So, Halo Infinite’s free-to-play multiplayer came out on November 15, 2021 and took us by surprise.
Halo Infinite’s single-player campaign came out three weeks later, on the game’s official release date.
Halo Infinite’s co-op will arrive until May 2022 (or so 343 Industries say), even though all the previous games had a co-op mode available on release.
On the bright side, though, it’ll feature crossplay and cross-progression, so it won’t matter if you and your friends are on Xbox or PC.
Better late than never, right?
Perhaps these features will even prompt Halo’s player count to reach a new record.
11. Microsoft wants to make Halo a big player in the eSports scene.
(Source: The Washington Post)
The software giant already signed deals with leading eSports organizations to sell in-game cosmetics for a revenue cut. The goal is to offer an appealing revenue model to the teams while simultaneously advertising the eSports scene in-game.
It seems the days when you could spend $60 once and get the full game are long gone. Case in point: a player will need to dish out $1,035 to unlock every cosmetic item currently for sale in the cash shop.
With the number of active players Halo has, we can see how this can be good for business.
12. Halo Infinite already made its eSports debut.
The Halo Championship Series (HCS) has been a thing since 2014. But the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021 event was the first major tournament based on Halo Infinite—which isn’t all that surprising, considering the game came out barely a month before the event.
The total prize fund was $350,000, with a $140,000 share for the winner, Cloud9. It was a decent bounty, though certainly not the highest prize in eSports history. That honor goes to the first Fortnite World Cup, which awarded the winner $3 million.
So then, is Halo dead?
It’s a 20-year-old franchise that consists of more than a dozen games. The studio behind it has already remastered and re-released a bunch of said titles, which about 10 million people buy as soon as they come out.
Still wondering if it’s dead?
Halo’s player count hasn’t declined—on the contrary, it goes up every time a new instalment pops up, reaching new heights.
Plus, with Microsoft investing in the eSports scene, we can only expect the game to grow even more in 2022.
So, grab your controller, and Halo on!