The release of Halo Infinite was a landmark moment for the iconic first-person shooter franchise, with over 20 million players participating in its first month since launch.

The number reached in month one is the highest the series has ever hit, certainly boosted by the free-to-play multiplayer release, the dual-launch to both Xbox and PC, and 343’s plans to continue adding additional free content to the game over time. The launch of Halo Infinite has also revitalized what was once a stagnant competitive esports scene, with multiple premier organizations jumping back into the game and some of the highest viewership numbers in years.

On the money side of things, Microsoft and its investors have to be pleased with how the company closed out the year. Microsoft’s gaming division saw record engagement during the final quarter of 2021, boosted by large player numbers for both Halo Infinite and Forza Horizon 5, according to a recent Microsoft conference call. The number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers is estimated to now be over 25 million.

Of course the context around the above numbers is that Halo Infinite is available on Game Pass (25m subs) and the multiplayer is F2P on all platforms.

However, that’s exactly the strategy for Xbox 1st party.

Reaches a broader audience than prior games, long term monetisation.

— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 25, 2022

In this call, Microsoft’s Gaming division also reported a 2021 revenue figure of $16.28 billion, setting a new calendar year record and beating last year’s previously held record of roughly $14 billion. Xbox saw significant increases in content and services revenue, as well as hardware sales during the year, with the best ever calendar year performance for each category.

Microsoft should expect to see more increased revenue following their industry-altering $68.7 all-cash acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The deal is expected to be finalized in Q2 2022.