Cutting corners: It's been over a year since release, and you still can't buy a new Xbox at a reasonable price for Christmas. And neither can Microsoft. At the first Halo tournament of the season, the company ran out of Xboxes and provided players in the open bracket with dev kits.
You might think that being the actual maker would help Microsoft find enough Xbox consoles, but apparently not. At least they're not hoarding them!
A new season of the Halo Championship Series kicked off on Friday and is continuing into the weekend (you can watch the streams here). As of writing, there are four teams still competing for first place out of the 32 that entered the tournament.
By now, the players will each have a genuine Xbox Series X. But at the beginning of the tournament some of the players were using Xbox dev kits in their "retail mode," according to Halo's esports lead, Tahir Hasandjekic, also known as Tashi...
Heads up open bracket players - you'll be playing this weekend on Series X development consoles. They're functionally identical and will be operating in "Retail" mode so it's the exact same experience, they just look a little different.--- Tashi (@Tashi343i) December 15, 2021
Why? Global supply chain shortage is real.
If hypothetically, Microsoft had brought an Xbox Series X for each of the 128 players in the tournament's open bracket at their current price on eBay, they would've had to spend about $120,000; almost half of the tournament's $250,000 prize pool.
But, in reality, Microsoft doesn't have to pay that much. A hundred consoles isn't a lot to them, and their failure to acquire them in time is better explained by poor planning. That said, using dev kits isn't a big deal, and apart from a few technical issues that were (as far as we know) unrelated to the consoles, the tournament has been a fun one.