At 6:41 p.m. ET last night, fans expected to give Halo Infinite a spin in the game’s first “technical test.” Instead, technical issues pushed the undefined launch time back by an unspecified amount. Problems regarding the test continued through Thursday night and into Friday morning.
Developer 343 Industries planned a technical test, or “flight”—don’t call it a beta, because it’s not—for Halo Infinite to start yesterday afternoon PT and run through Monday morning PT. Shortly before the anticipated rollout, 343 Industries community director Brian Jarrard took to Twitter to manage expectations and detail a minor hiccup that required resetting the flight’s servers. Then, the big one: That hiccup actually necessitated a “full global server re-deploy,” meaning the test wouldn’t start ‘til evening PT. (343 Industries is based on the west coast, Kotaku on the east.)
When the Halo Infinite technical test officially went up at 9:19 p.m. ET, it didn’t do so for all players. Unlike many pre-release tests, getting into the Halo Infinite flight isn’t as simple as popping onto the Xbox’s Microsoft Store and downloading an app. Rather, you had to fill out a sign-up form in advance. (343 Industries has regularly and vocally urged people to sign up over the past few weeks.) Then, if you received an email confirming you were selected, you’d have to head to Halo Waypoint—a hub site where players can check their Halo stats, messages, and more—and check your inbox for instructions on how to download.
Halo Waypoint struggled under the crush of traffic last night, with many users unable to load their messages, or even log into the site at all. Jarrard directed fans toward a dedicated Waypoint subsite, allowing approved testers to access the instructions via FAQ. (Note: That URL will only work if you’re approved for the Infinite technical test.) Short version: To get into the flight, you’d have to be an Xbox Insider, open the Insider Hub app, check your offered previews, and select the Halo Infinite option, provided you were approved.
You know how this works: You hit the “join” button. It runs through a moment of “pending.” Then you’re in. Easy enough, yeah? Thing is, for many players, “pending” stayed at “pending” for hours. Halo’s official support channel urged players to practice patience, life’s rarest virtue, and “try again.” That should do it!
Kotaku had little luck last night. Both Zack Zweizen and I repeatedly tried to get in pretty much from the starting gun and ended up stuck on a “pending” screen. We’d even tried the age-old infallible trick of “turning the console off and then turning it back on again.” No dice.
As of 11:46 p.m. ET, Zack still wasn’t able to get in. But this morning, he told me he got in around 12:35 a.m. ET. “I’m very excited to play more when it’s working better,” he said.
I gave it a final try close to 1:00 a.m. ET before throwing in the towel. This morning, I was finally able to queue up the download (18.7GB on Xbox) without resistance. Took a few minutes, but it ultimately worked. Before you ask, nope, I haven’t had a chance to play yet, because: job.
According to the Microsoft-approved official channels, yes, the Halo Infinite flight is running smoothly. As of 5:24 a.m. ET, the Xbox Support Twitter account thanked players for their patience and said that anyone “expecting to access Halo Infinite through the Xbox Insider Hub app should no longer be stuck in a pending state.”
Keep in mind, though, that those are official channels. On social media, plenty of hopeful players are still reporting their Insider app as stuck on “pending,” claiming wait times of 7, 8, 9 hours or more. So, better maybe (for some), but not yet perfect.
That said, anyone expecting perfection from a technical test—again, not even a beta—in the first place was destined for disappointment. The entire intention here was to test server capacity, and to make sure the infrastructure could support an influx of players for one of the fall’s most anticipated games. Far better to iron out these kinks now than on launch day, right? Plus, 343 Industries plans on running more technical tests in the run-up to launch, which has no specified date but is planned for release later this year on Xbox and PC.