It’s one thing for free-to-play shooter Halo Infinite to have microtransactions. Now Halo: The Master Chief Collection, a first-person shooter with a price tag, might see something similar. Maybe. Developer 343 is still “exploring” a “potential” framework “for the future.”
Introducing microtransactions might seem like an odd step for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which is nearly eight years old and has already had one of the more publicly turbulent receptions in modern gaming.
First released in 2014, Halo: The Master Chief Collection combines the first four mainline Halo games — and their popular multiplayer components — but stumbled out of the gate with some serious connectivity woes. It took quite a while and a ton of updates, but by 2019, Master Chief Collection locked a spot as one of the best multiplayer shooters around. The player base was further invigorated in 2020 following buzz for the then-forthcoming Halo Infinite.
“We are internally exploring a potential new feature for the future in the form of purchasable Spartan Points,” 343’s Alex Wakeford wrote in a blog post. “It is prudent to note here that we are happy with the current system of how players earn Spartan Points, by completing challenges and levelling up through play. This would be an optional, additive alternative for players who might find the vast scope of content to be an intimidating amount of playtime and want to get ahead on (or skip) the grind.”
“It’s a mistake,” Taras, a Halo-focused content creator known as LateNightGaming on YouTube, told Kotaku. “343 unfortunately has had a rough year following the poor handling of Halo Infinite’s supposed ‘live service.’ The last thing they need is [to] retroactively add microtransactions to games that are over a decade old at this point.”
Even the generally positive-leaning voices in Halo’s community have spoken up. Sacred Icon, a popular Halo podcast, said that more microtransactions is “the last thing” Halo needs. UberNick, a Halo content creator with Spacestation Gaming, said he wasn’t initially irked by the idea of microtransaction but revised his position after reading up on the concerns of others.
“The Master Chief Collection is considered a bit of a ‘safe spot’ for Halo right now, the one area of the series that is doing relatively well, so to see them consider something as tone deaf as microtransaction inclusion is an astonishingly bad PR move,” Taras said.
Following the release of Halo Infinite’s second season, fans criticised how 343 Industries quietly slipped in some controversial changes — like the removal of non-telegraphed traversal methods called “skill jumps” — without informing players first. After some vocal feedback from community members, 343 reverted those changes.
In the time since, this is, to my understanding, the first instance where 343 has actually run a change by the Halo community to gauge reception before implementing it. But it’s unclear if it was an intentional decision on the part of 343 as a response to Halo Infinite’s second season debacle or, if so, why they opted to test the water with the terminally hot-button topic of microtransactions. Everyone hates microtransactions!
Representatives for 343 Industries did not respond to a request for comment.