Yesterday, I ran with a story about Halo: The MasterChief collection’s matchmaking multiplayer being blocked from within South Africa’s borders. According to a trusted source, South African gamers were geo-fenced, kept out of matchmaking to keep the experience a stable and enjoyable one for gamers around the globe. The lag we introduce into multiplayer games whose servers are hosted outside of close proximity can make games frustrating for other. I surmised that Halo: The Masterchief Collection’s matchmaking multiplayer might never work in South Africa. I was wrong.
Let me start with a bit of context. I was told by our source a few weeks ago that 343 Industries had actively blocked us from using matchmaking – and that the block had been in place since December. We’d since contacted 343, along with people from Microsoft in SA and Microsoft Global. I decided not to run with the story until I had some sort of confirmation or statement – but that never came.
Yesterday, the new patch for Halo’s matchmaking was released – and even after the patch was deployed South African gamers still couldn’t access matchmaking. The situation forced my hand – and I ran with it. Last night, we got word that South Africans were starting to enjoy Halo MCC, by being able to actually being able to join games through matchmaking. That’s pretty damned good news. We’ve tested it, and were able to join games through matchmaking.
I’m not so presumptuous to believe that yesterday’s article had anything to do with the matchmaking restrictions being lifted. Ostensibly, we’d just been blocked from the service while 343 got their matchmaking – which has been broken for four months – in order. Maybe the threats of CPA action forced a few hands. Maybe it’s a fluke – who knows?
I asked my source once again about the situation, and was told – in no uncertain, ambiguous terms – that South Africans were very much, and very definitely blocked.
We aren’t anymore.
For the record, we’ve still not received a statement.
We have a statement. Microsoft says that they’re not doing any blocking.
“Xbox Live services are globally accessible and Microsoft is not blocking matchmaking in any region. Individual experiences may vary around the globe based on connectivity. We continue to adjust our tools that address latency and matchmaking in Xbox Live and encourage our fans in the region to jump on and play so that we can continue to improve performance. We are always evaluating ways to bring the best gaming experiences to fans around the world and improve server support that matchmaking experiences are so dependent upon.”
Last Updated: March 5, 2015