Hot on the heels of news that Halo Infinite will include microtransactions following launch, studio head Chris Lee has taken to social media to put out some fires-- promising fans that loot boxes are not part of the equation. So while the studio appears to still be planning some sort of for-pay content for Master Chief's next adventure, it sounds like you won't have to worry about blind grab-bags of cosmetic goodies rearing their ugly head.
The above tweet comes from 343 Industries' Chris Lee, responding to a fan's concern that loot boxes would be popping up in Halo Infinite. User @HiddenXperia is a Halo Youtuber, who took to social media after reading a Gamespot article about how Halo Infinite will boast microtransactions. Xperia stated concerns that the microtransactions would be invasive and have a negative impact on the game.
According to Lee, 343 Industries is still figuring out some of the game's inner working but, while he didn't state microtransactions are getting the axe, he did clear the air that loot boxes were not even part of the conversation. That likely comes as great news for Halo fans, who have been waiting (and will continue waiting) a long time for Infinite-- especially considering how poisonous the whole microtransaction/loot box conversation has become for developers/publishers over the past year.
The debate about microtransactions hit a fever pitch last year nearing the launch of Battlefront II. We won't rehash all of the details for the millionth time, but EA and DICE were getting flamed pretty hard for planning microtransactions for the popular Star Wars franchise that could only be described as "predatory." Things got so bad that the game's microtransaction system was cut right before launch and, after months of patches and retooling systems, it's actually evolved into a rather fantastic online shooter. The problem is that it would have been a much bigger success had the game been developed with a conscience in the first place.
In the end this created something of a snowball effect, leading to national investigations, questioning of whether or not loot boxes are technically gambling and several games either changing course before launch or cutting these types of microtransactions from games that were already out in the wild.
All of this also beats at the heart of the new "games as service" model everyone is so wild about. Developers want to make games that get played a lot longer than was traditionally the case, but they also want to find a way to continue making money off of those games if they're still putting in so much effort. Fans don't seem to be too angered by well-implemented microtransactions, such as cosmetic items in Fortnite or even its season pass, as you know exactly what you're getting when you pay for it. Loot boxes, though, seem to have become a major problem with many gamers, so it's good news they won't be making an appearance in the new Halo.