Call of Duty and Halo have both contributed so much to the gaming industry. They’re iconic franchises that have shaped modern shooters as we know them today, and they’re both valid esports titles. However, as one is a sci-fi-focused franchise and the other is more of a modern-day boots-on-the-ground shooter, we’re wondering if it’s fair to compare them. Let’s find out which franchise ultimately beats the other in this debate of Call of Duty vs Halo.
By comparing the two franchises, we’ll determine which has sold more, which has the more lasting legacy, and which has the best esports scene. There’s a lot to learn about these two franchises, and it’s our hope that during the Call of Duty vs Halo debate, we’ll truly learn – once and for all – which series is better. It may be considered subjective, but there’s still plenty of factual information that we can use to draw up this comparison.
So, let’s get into it – this is Call of Duty vs Halo.
Is Halo More Popular Than Call of Duty?
During its lifetime – which kicked off in 2001 – Halo has hit some sizeable milestones. For instance, on the original Xbox console, Halo 2 remains the best-selling game of all time. In 2022, it was revealed that the Halo series had shipped more than 81 million games up until that point. However, owing to its status as an Xbox-exclusive game, its sales have been somewhat restricted.
Out of all the Halo games, the most popular one was Halo 3, which was one of the first ‘big games’ on the Xbox 360. This game sold 14.5 million copies, which brings it in some way behind the Call of Duty series when it comes to sales. Out of all the Call of Duty games, the top ten highest-selling titles all breached the 20 million mark, but that’s because they’re multi-platform games. Could Halo 3 have outsold Call of Duty if it was also released on PlayStation 3?
These days, there’s no question that Call of Duty is much more popular than Halo.
Halo had a peak when Halo Infinite’s multiplayer platform was released as a free-to-play game in 2021, but it was a short-lived success. Now, only a few thousand people seem to play Halo Infinite, while millions connect to Call of Duty’s current games: COD Mobile, Warzone 2.0, and Modern Warfare II. If we use Steam as a representative example, we can see that – at the time of publishing – Halo Infinite has a 30-day average player count of just 2,800 users.
Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 alone has a 30-day average of 67,000.
In the great debate of Call of Duty vs Halo, there’s no doubt that Halo falls behind in terms of overall popularity.
Which Franchise Has a Bigger Legacy?
Halo is older than Call of Duty – but only just. It can be argued that the early success of Halo contributed to the inspiration behind the Call of Duty project, but not by much. Historically, titles like Battlefield and Medal of Honor, with their Second World War-based themes, contributed much more to the motivation behind the creation of Call of Duty.
It can be argued that Halo drove the early success of the Xbox platforms, both the original Xbox and the Xbox 360. It fell apart when the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X|S were released, though, and over time, the Call of Duty franchise has only gotten stronger. It’s now a household name, whereas Halo has fallen to the sidelines somewhat.
Today, Call of Duty is the fourth best-selling video game franchise of all time. Halo is the twenty-ninth.
Call of Duty’s battle royale platform – Warzone – shaped the face of the genre. When it comes to esports, the Call of Duty League is infinitely more impactful than the Halo Championship Series, despite there being some crossovers in terms of themes and even players. Historically, esports players from the Halo scene transitioned over to Call of Duty, but some – like OpTic’s FormaL – have infamously made a reverse switch.
Fans of the Halo series would love to say that it has had a bigger impact on gaming than Call of Duty, but that just isn’t the case.
So, Call of Duty vs Halo – Which is Better?
It’s subjective! Isn’t that always the way that these things go?
If we go by sheer numbers alone, then the Call of Duty franchise decimates the Halo series, but does that mean it’s better? Call of Duty sells millions of copies every year simply because it’s Call of Duty, and some may argue that Halo is only restricted because it’s platform-exclusive with Xbox. It can also be argued that Halo has a much better backstory and richer lore, whereas the Call of Duty series tends to change dramatically from one game to the next.
There’s a Halo television series that was something of a success, while a Call of Duty movie or television show has only ever been conceptual. There’s a much richer history for Halo, but again, does that mean it’s better than Call of Duty? We don’t think it does.
Owing to the strength of Call of Duty esports, the number of players in the game, and overall sales and value, we have to say that Call of Duty wins this debate, hands down.