Halo Infinite multiplayer release date surprise: Xbox and PC very soon

For Halo fans, this past weekend had a lot of ups and downs, as we heard rumors which claimed that Halo Infinite's multiplayer would get a surprise early launch at the end of today's Xbox 20th Anniversary livestream. Those rumors were followed by other reports claiming quite the opposite, saying that while Microsoft had initially intended to launch Infinite multiplayer early, that was no longer on the table. Thankfully, at the end of today's livestream, we learned the truth, and it's a good outcome for the Halo fans of the world.

Halo Infinite multiplayer beta live now

At the tail end of today's presentation, we received a brief video message featuring the entire team at 343 Industries. In it, the studio announced that Halo Infinite multiplayer is going live today in beta across Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. It'll be live until Halo Infinite's full launch on December 8th, which is when the campaign will be available.

Not only is Halo Infinite's multiplayer live, but season 1 is beginning today. The first season is called Heroes of Reach, and as the name suggests, the battle pass will be themed around the characters we met in Halo: Reach. In a lengthy blog post to Halo Waypoint, 343 Industries reveals that leveling up season 1's premium battle pass will unlock all of the armor kits belonging to the ill-fated Noble Team.

Microsoft and 343 say this is a beta, but it appears to be more like "early access." The beta will run until Halo Infinite's full release on December 8th, and there are no restrictions to the modes that can be played. According to Microsoft, what we're getting today is the full multiplayer experience. Still, since it has "beta" attached to it, we probably shouldn't be surprised to encounter some bugs as we play.

Halo Infinite playlists and PC specs

Since this is the full Halo Infinite multiplayer experience, there are a variety of playlists to jump into. In that same blog post linked above, 343 Industries says several playlists are available today: Big Team Battle, Quick Play, Bot Bootcamp, and Ranked Arena. Big Team Battle's 12v12 matches need little introduction for Halo veterans, but it's worth noting that the Quick Play playlist will include the Capture the Flag, One Flag CTF, Oddball, Slayer, and Strongholds game modes.

On the other hand, Bot Bootcamp is a way for Halo fans to get their feet wet without diving in completely, as it'll pit a team of four human players against a team of four bots. Various game modes are available in this playlist as well, including CTF, Oddball, Slayer, and Strongholds. In addition, ranked Arena will include solo and duo queues dedicated to different control types – controller and KBM – along with a cross-input playlist that supports up to a full party.

The first event playlist for Halo Infinite, Fracture: Tenrai, will be going live on November 23rd and will allow players to unlock Samurai armor by playing. While the Fracture: Tenrai playlist will only be available for a week, it will be re-run numerous times throughout season 1, so you'll still have a chance to earn the Samurai armor even if you don't play the event next week.

Finally, 343 Industries shared several recommended spec lists for Halo Infinite today, which you can see in the image embedded above. The minimum specifications for Halo Infinite require either a Ryzen 5 1600 or a Core i5-4400 for the CPU, and either an RX 570 or GTX 1050 Ti for the GPU. Compare that to the ultra spec, which calls for a Ryzen 6 5900X/Core i9-11900K and an RX 6800 XT/RTX 3080, and it seems Halo Infinite can run on a wide array of systems.

Halo Infinite multiplayer is available to download now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows 10, including the Microsoft Store and Steam. Microsoft says that it will be available through Xbox Cloud Gaming later today, so Game Pass Ultimate subscribers should keep an eye out for that imminent drop as well.