When Microsoft announced Halo Online last week, many gamers were surprised and disappointed the game was coming only to Russia. Some of these gamers decided to play the game anyway and developed a mod that allowed them to access the game outside of Russia. That action, in turn, sparked a DMCA Takedown Notice from Microsoft that asked the gamers to cease modding Halo Online.
However, it seems the modders are ignoring the DMCA notice and are continuing their efforts to bring Halo Online to the West. In fact, they even refer to their actions as “a noble cause” and believe all PC gamers should have access to the newest addition to the Halo franchise.
The modders say they’re continuing their efforts because they don’t believe what they’re doing is illegal. One member of the group, who goes by Neoshadow42, offered some thoughts as to the team’s motivation:
“I don’t particularly see this as damaging, as some people have said. I don’t believe it for a moment, honestly. We’re working to improve people’s experience, bring it to those who wouldn’t have been able to play it anyway. I’d see that as a noble cause.”
The modders also noted they see the potential for the free-to-play game to become pay-to-win, where players can purchase in-game items with real money and use those items to dominate other players. The modders feel that’s a bad move by Microsoft and use it to justify their actions.
We’re honestly not surprised that this group of modders is attempting to open the game up for other players around the world. Thanks to the success of other free-to-play games, including Call of Duty Online in China, it looks like more and more game developers will be creating free-to-play games for international territories. Unfortunately, doing so leaves out Western countries in Europe and North America, where gamers may be less likely to fork over cash for microtransactions.
Neoshadow42 and the rest of the modders believe everyone should have access to Halo Online, and that if it claims to be free-to-play, it should deliver on that premise.
“This whole project would be completely different in an ethical way if we had taken a paid game and reversed it for everyone to access for free.”
We’re sure the discussion about free-to-play and pay-to-win games will continue for a long time, especially as companies like Microsoft and Activision maintain strong revenue numbers from the practice.
What do you think about the modders’ actions to open Halo Online to gamers everywhere? Is their cause truly noble? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.