Halo Infinite will have microtransactions, but no loot boxes

There was a flash of unhappiness earlier this week when Gamespot noticed a job listing for an "online experience design director" at Halo studio 343 Industries. According to the description, the successful applicant will "oversee and provide vision for multiple facets of design and its implementation" in the upcoming Halo Infinite, the listing states, including player progression, social and engagement features, and—uh oh—microtransactions. 

We don't know much about Halo Infinite at this point, except that it's been confirmed for PC and 343 isn't (publicly, at least) interested in a battle royale mode. But the mention of microtransactions didn't go over especially well with a number of Halo fans, who expressed unhappiness (such as in this Reddit thread) about the game's "pay to win" prospects, the return of a REQ unlock system, and/or the "anti-consumer" nature of microtransactions in general.   

Neither Microsoft nor 343 have said specifically how Halo Infinite microtransactions will work, but studio head Chris Lee took to Twitter today to say that, regardless of whatever else happens, loot boxes are not part of the formula.

That's good, but it's also a matter of practicality: Loot boxes have come under fire from multiple regulatory bodies in Europe, forcing regional restrictions on games including Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, CS:GO, and Forza, and more action may be coming—including in the US. Implementing conventional loot boxes in a new game at this point would be both risky and potentially self-destructive.

Some gamers are skeptical of microtransactions in any format, but games like Overwatch have demonstrated that it is possible to do them well, or at least in a way that won't stoke permanent fury. 343 will no doubt have more to say about Halo Infinite's business model at some point in the future, but it might not be for awhile: A release date hasn't been set, but we  don't expect it to show up until late in 2019.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.