New Xbox One bundle comes with Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The bundle will cost customers $349 and include a digital copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which includes Halos 1 through 4.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Microsoft's Xbox One console is coming bundled with Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Microsoft

Microsoft's Xbox One is getting some help on store shelves from one of its most iconic figures: Master Chief.

Microsoft will launch a new bundle this month featuring its standard Xbox One console and a digital copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The bundle, which does not include the Kinect gaming sensor, will be available for $349, Microsoft said in a blog post Monday. Exact availability dates will vary depending on the retailer.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched in November to much fanfare. The game includes remastered versions of Halo 1, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4. As soon as the game launched, however, it was criticized by gamers who fell victim to a range of bugs and technical problems. The biggest issues affected the game's multiplayer mode, which at times prevented gamers from finding online matches.

In an effort to boost its sales during the busy holiday shopping season, Microsoft offered a range of bundles, including one that included Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and another with Sunset Overdrive. Halo: The Master Chief Collection was conspicuously missing from the bundle lineup. Its omission was believed to be due to the game's issues and Microsoft not wanting to bundle a buggy title with its console.

Since then, Microsoft has addressed most of the issues affecting the game, which makes it a good time for the company to bundle Master Chief with its Xbox One.

Whether the offer provides a value, however, depends on the gamer. The Master Chief Collection comprises old Halo games that many have already played. While the graphics are enhanced and the multiplayer refined, it doesn't break new ground. Those who haven't played through the titles or want to play them again, however, have four games in one that they can play.

For Microsoft, the offer is a no-brainer. At $349, the bundle is $50 less than the Xbox One's top competitor, the unbundled PlayStation 4. In addition, offering a digital version of The Master Chief Collection saves Microsoft the cost of shipping discs and cases, reducing the financial impact of offering a cheap bundle.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.