This is a great article from Richard Bowman at Shady Tales. Fantastic read and makes a damn good point. Article in it’s entirety is below.
The Halo franchise is one of the most profitable in today’s gaming market with a staggering 60 millions combined copies sold world-wide, earning various spin offs and even branching into the lucrative mobile market, first with Halo Spartan Assault followed by its sequel Spartan Strike. So it would seem that Halo 5 Guardians success would be a sure thing, another record breaker for Microsoft and 343 and all would be business as usual for the Master Chief. However, everything might not be quite as clear cut as it used to be for Spartan 117, as in recent years the Halo series has started to show a few cracks in its armour, the competition is now stronger than ever, and even the most hardcore fans enthusiasm has started to fade following a few lack lustre releases and PR nightmares for 343 industries.
Let’s take a look at the numbers
There is no two ways about it, the Halo franchise has been in decline since 343 took hold of the reigns following Bungie’s departure to work on Destiny. This can clearly be seen when comparing various statistics before and after 343 took over. 343’s first attempt, Halo 4 whilst being a tremendous success sales wise, failed to out sell either Halo 3 or Halo Reach in the UK during its first week of launch. It also performed very poorly in terms of active player base and was the first Halo game ever to drop out of the top 10 most played games on Xbox Live during its first year of release. In comparison, Halo 2 stayed as the most played game on Xbox Live until the release of the original Gears of War almost two years later and Halo 3 stayed at the number one spot for over two years past its release, seeing of stiff competition from 3 Call of Duty games as well as Gears of War 2.
Halo 4 failed to retain players suffering a huge loss mere weeks after launch
At one point Halo 4 even fell behind Halo 3 on the XBL charts, which is staggering considering Halo 3 was released in September 2007, and Halo 4 was released in November 2012.
After Halo 4 came Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which was pretty much a license to print money as it contained a huge amount of content, including all of the campaigns and multiplayer modes from Halo : Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4. Included with this was the Halo 5 Beta, where fans would be able to play 3 weeks of the next instalment in the Halo series. Whilst 343 announced that the beta was a resounding success, the statistics show a largely different story.
You can see the Halo 5 Guardians beta did not perform as well as the Halo 3 beta
When comparing the Halo 5 Beta to the Halo 3 Beta, it is plain to see that Halo 5 did not perform anywhere near as well as Bungie’s 2007 release. The most notable statistic is that players in the Halo 5 Beta only played on average for 2.5 hours, where as Halo 3 Beta players played for an impressive 14.5 hours. An interesting statistic and could be an indication that Halo 5’s game play isn’t enough to keep players entertained for long periods of time.
Another problem Halo 5 will face is the shambles that was Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The game, currently over 120 days past release, still does not work properly. At launch the game was rendered completely unplayable, riddled with bugs and technical issues leaving players unable to play anything. It has taken 343 a very long time to get the game into a working state, and it still to this day does not work as intended.
In addition to the shockingly poor state the game was launched in, 343 handled the PR backlash even worse than they handled the release. Instead of communicating with fans, 343 stayed silent. When they eventually acknowledged the issue they promised they would be “working round the clock” to fix the game. As of yet this has not happened.
Halo MCC is still not fixed over 120 days after launch
You can be sure that this will impact on consumer confidence, but exactly how much is unknown. Halo fans love the franchise and have been surprisingly forgiving of 343 in the past, but you just need to take one look at the various internet forums to see that even the most battle hardened Spartans are growing tired of 343 failing to deliver and making false promises. I am sure Halo 5 will sell and sell well, but whether it will set a new record for the franchise I am not so sure.
343 have been working hard to distant themselves from Halo : The Master Chief Collection in the hope that by the time Halo 5 : Guardians is released most fans will have forgotten about it. Whether this will work or not we will have to wait and see, but one thing is for certain, 343 can’t have a worse launch then they did with Halo : The Master Chief Collection,right?