Halo Infinite reveal seemingly wasn’t running on Xbox Series X hardware

Today’s Halo Infinite gameplay demo was exciting, even if the graphics weren’t exactly cutting edge. However, the Xbox Games Showcase’s centerpiece wasn’t captured on an Xbox Series X console. Instead, it seems the game was likely played on a PC that was “representative of the experience on Xbox Series X running at 60FPS and up to 4K resolution.”

It’s not unusual for studios to capture early gameplay from a PC build. Games are developed with PCs. The extra horsepower of a high-end desktop can offset performance issues and bugs, making it easier to share a game without creating a special build. However, this trend is becoming confusing when it comes to Microsoft’s streams.

Halo Infinite Gameplay Premiere YouTube Description

The company is using “Xbox” more and more to mean their overall gaming ecosystem instead of just using it to refer to their consoles. Most viewers of the Xbox Game Showcase would likely assume that the gameplay shown in the Halo Infinite premiere is from an Xbox Series X, especially since it lacks the disclaimer that it’s only representative of the experience on the upcoming console.

This could be forgiven had a disclaimer accompanied the demo, but the only indicator that the Halo Infinite demo was captured on something other than an Xbox Series X is in the YouTube description. There’s also the issue that “representative” is a vague term and that there’s no transparency concerning the hardware used to run the game. My PC with a Ryzen 3800X and 2080 Ti is could be representative of the Xbox Series X because it can play games at 60 FPS at 4K resolution and runs the same x64 instruction set that the console does.

This bait-and-switch tactic is one we’ve seen for years. However, Halo is a system seller. Microsoft isn’t just trying to sell copies of Halo Infinite with this demo; it’s trying to convince viewers to purchase an Xbox Series X. With that much money on the line, Microsoft needs to be as transparent as possible about what footage is captured from an Xbox Series X, and what’s coming from a PC or dev kit.