Halo 5: The Guardians doesn’t arrive on the Xbox One until next year, but Microsoft is already preparing for the return of the long-running first-person shooter franchise with Halo Channel. An online video out this week gives Halo 5 and Halo: Master Chief Collection buyers their first look at the upcoming app that’ll officially replace the Halo Waypoint app for iPhone, Android and more.
343 Industry’s Kiki Wolfkill recorded a video walk through complete with commentary about Halo Channel recently, the video of which is now available over at IGN. Halo Channel is the Xbox One experience that Microsoft revealed during its E3 2014 briefing.
When users first open Halo Channel they’ll get a full screen carousel of the latest news about Halo 5 and more. For right now, the Halo Channel is showcasing a first look video for Halo: Nightfall. That’s the video show that will come included with Halo: Master Chief Collection and act as an introduction for Agent Locke. He’ll feature prominently in Halo 5: The Guardians.
Halo Channel will always have video streaming live into the home screen. This video stream won’t consist of live footage from the studio. Instead, it’s a curated playlist that 343 Industries works will program with the latest in related franchise information. Halo Channel focuses heavily on video and heavily on social interactions. When users are watching a video they’ll also be able to track what people are saying about that video on Twitter thanks to built-in hashtag support. Options for composing tweets and retweeting tweets are all included in Halo Channel. Creating tweets is as simple as opening the Xbox One SmartGass app.
Halo Waypoint, Microsoft’s old Halo app for the Xbox 360, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, let users watch videos and read about future Halo content. However, it didn’t allow users to do anything other than consume content. According to Wolfkill, interactivity is a big part of the Halo Channel experience. She cites users being able to pre-order games or follow fans as part of that interactive experience. A built-in Halo Encyclopedia is also available for users to browse through. In the video we see information about John 117, the Halo series’ main protagonist. The Halo Encyclopedia runs under everything that’s available in the Halo Channel. As users browse through the app, they can earn a video rewards and more.
Halo Channel will feature live content – sort of. Users will be able to head into the app and get direct links into Halo footage that others are sharing live on the Twitch game streaming service. Instead of just piping in the video, users get a break down of all the streams details. They know who is playing who and who is winning. Users also get a look at which game mode they are seeing in real-time and what map is being played. If there’s one thing Halo Channel does right it’s this Twitch streaming. Serious Halo fans are going to find it very useful. That Halo Channel has gestures support for Microsoft’s Kinect 2 sensor too.
About the only thing that could seriously harm the Halo Channel’s appeal is platform availability. After showing IGN the app, Wolfkill confirms that there’ll be versions for Xbox One and Windows coming this November. She also confirms that we’ll see a Halo Channel app for Microsoft’s Windows Phone at some point in the future. That being said, she doesn’t confirm iPhone, iPad and Android versions at all.
Presumably, Halo Channel will arrive at the same time as the next major version of Halo. For Xbox One users that’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a title that’ll consist of all past Halo games to feature the series’ protagonist. Halo: The Master Chief Collection arrives on the Xbox One, November 11th in the United States.