Halo Infinite is a very good multiplayer shooter, but it's had a rough ride from players for a number of different reasons, not least of them the overabundance of microtransactions. But it looks like 343 Industries has figured out how to change people's minds on the matter: not by reducing the number or price of in-game items, mind, but by adding feline auris externa—cat ears.
Purrfect Audio, as the new helmet attachment is called, is available in a four-part "Cat Lovers" bundle that also includes the Faded Blush armor coating and Tabby and Kat gun charms. The bundle sells for 1,000 Halo credits, which costs $10 in real money, a price that strikes me as very steep for a set of silly ears to slap atop your Very Serious Super-Soldier helmet.
Not everyone agrees with that assessment, however.
"They're the perfect accessory. Even if they're Mark 7 locked, they still work on every helmet," redditor Riceatron wrote at the start of a now-lengthy Reddit thread. "They're gimmicky enough to not really belong in a themed battle pass or reward. They're literally the exact thing a cash shop is meant for, not selling me regular shoulder pads and helmets for 10-20 bucks."
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Redditor StormR7 agreed, saying the cat ears are "pretty reasonably priced" compared to skin prices in League of Legends. "The League system doesn’t seem unfair, and this (at least the cat ears) isn’t unfair either," they replied. "You get cosmetics that can be used on a variety of helmets (only MK7 but that isn’t that bad IMO) and that add different twists to armor, as opposed to traditional cosmetics in Halo like armor and tactical attachments."
"First cosmetic item I've seen in the Halo eshop that made me go, okay, I need to buy that, and compared to games like Warzone and Destiny, the price of the cat ears bundle didn't bother me too much; it's fairly on point to offerings there," Coffemugofdoom admitted. "I mean, in Destiny, one emote can be $10, and same for a weapon skin or even a finisher. And while I'm not saying I love that everything is priced like that, it's certainly not unreasonable, given the other games on the market, for Halo to be charging as much as they do."
Of course, the embrace of the ears isn't universal, and there's some pushback against the price. But as several posters in the thread pointed out, the number of people wearing them in the game is a pretty strong sign that, as expensive as they are, the Halo cat ears are definitely not overpriced.
Committed opponents of microtransactions don't seem to mind the cat ears as much as the proverbial crack in the dike they represent. "I guess we lost the war," KenaiChoppa wrote. "You can see Twitter and other posts like 'Ups! I fall for the cat ears!'. They made a fake apology and keep with the prices/MTX politics."
Redditor grb13 was more on point: "This thread is proof that y'all are turning."
They are awful damn cute though, aren't they?