Nobody likes to be told they can’t have something just because they live in the wrong part of the world. Case in point — Microsoft has earned the ire of gamers across the globe for its decision to make the upcoming free-to-play Halo Online PC title available only in Russia. Modders have gotten their hands on the game, though, and are busy removing the region lock. In response, Microsoft is unleashing the lawyers.
Halo Online is simpler than modern Halo games on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It’s based on a heavily modified Halo 3 engine that has been tweaked to run well on low-power PCs. That said, the gameplay videos of Halo Online look perfectly serviceable. The game is played entirely online, so it’s multiplayer only. Microsoft doesn’t plan to create any sort of campaign for Halo Online.
People are not taking kindly to Microsoft’s decision to launch Halo Online in closed beta for Russia only, but you can guess at the reasoning. The rates of piracy in Russia are higher than in North America or Europe, but free-to-play games tend to pull in some revenue from people that would otherwise just grab all their games from BitTorrent. The low spec requirements will also expand the user base dramatically. Microsoft would likely offer players the option of buying additional equipment and accessories in the game for real money, but there are no details what the cost structure will be yet.