Xbox 360, DRM, and Why I Can’t Play What I Paid For
Microsoft STILL has yet to fix their DRM licensing issues for Xbox Live Marketplace downloads, locking many people out of the content they’ve paid for. So when your 360 gets the RRoD, they will fix it, but in the process break everything you’ve downloaded from XBLM, leaving it to you to spend months on the phone with XBL Support. Here’s what I’ve had to go through so far:
A few months ago (Nov. 7th) my Xbox got the RRoD, and I sent it in to be repaired. After a few weeks, I got it back, fixed, but now everything that I’d bought and downloaded from Marketplace won’t run if I’m not signed in with my primary gamertag. This included at least 15 Arcade games, and multiple game-addons. At least $200 worth of purchases. OXM recently had an article on how it was their primary complaint with the console.
So not only did my Xbox break, but after the “fix” I’ve now lost functionality on about $200 worth of purchases. It’s very frustrating that in a home with multiple gamertags that used to have access to all the arcade games I’ve paid for, they now don’t because of poor DRM management.
The handling of this error has been less than satisfactory. When I called Xbox support Dec. 6th about this, I was told my downloads would be fixed in 20 days, max, and to call back if it hadn’t been fixed by then. After almost 30 nothing had changed. On Jan. 2nd I called and was told that now it might be fixed on the 12th. Maybe. So now my Xbox hasn’t been fully functional for over 2 months, and to top it off, all I’m getting for my troubles is an “I’m sorry” from a call center worker, not even an explanation why they blew their first deadline. After asking how they would compensate me for these months that my Xbox or downloads don’t work as intended, they said they couldn’t do anything for me, and actually hung up on me.
I brought my Xbox to my family’s over Christmas, but I couldn’t show them any of the cool arcade games, themes, downloaded game content or videos because all of this content is completely broken without the internet. I had to explain to everyone that my Xbox broke, and then Microsoft broke the games in the repair process. That doesn’t seem like a good way to get people excited about the product, and definitely doesn’t make me very happy.
At this point, I’m going to think twice before spending money on Marketplace, and I’ve warned coworkers and friends about how this repair has been handled.
You can read about other people’s woe’s here, here, here, here, here… etc….
Whenever Major Nelson, Xbox spokesperson, posts about a new arcade game, the comments are filled with complaints about customers being locked out of their bought content due to poor DRM management.
UPDATE (01-13-08): I called 1800-4MY-XBOX again, to see if there were any status updates. After spending a while trying to get Tier 1 support to transfer me to a supervisor, I spoke with a “Carlos” who tried telling me about licensing and why my games don’t work (duh). He also told me he had no authority to issue any sort of compensation (even though a previous Tier 1 support person told me Tier 2 could do this.) He finally looked up the status of my licensing transfer, and actually told me it was 97% done! He told me that, by tomorrow morning, I would be getting a call-back, telling me I could finally re-download my games/ add-ons, etc.
He PROMISED, over and over that I would receive this call, and that the person calling would be able to issue me compensation. We shall see!
Who knows if this is them just blowing their deadline by a few days, or if it is because this story made front page of Digg. This whole process still needs to be fixed. I shouldn’t have to do a single thing to have my games working. It should have been automatically done when they repaired my console.
UPDATE (01-14-08): No call from Xbox Live as Carlos had promised. I had to give “Andrew” all of my information, even last 4 digits of my CC# before he would transfer me to his supervisor. Once he did, she had no more information, and no idea why “Carlos” promised me what he did, and had no clue where he got the 97% done figure. Guess it was made up. She wouldn’t give me any other information or dates, but told me she marked down that “Carlos” had lied to me.
Xbox get RRoD, and I send off the Xbox and get it repaired.
1 hour call
Primary Gamertag: agdtinman
Told games would work in 15-20 days (Dec 21st-26th) Told I would get a call back when it was updated. Wasn’t ever called, games still don’t work correctly.
45 minute calls total (after being hung up on after a 30 min call)
Found out a service request put in by Steven Davis (works at Microsoft) Dec 12th.
Was told it would be ANOTHER 30 days past that date before they started working.
Arcade games still don’t work if not connected to the internet, on ANY gamertag, even the one I bought them with. Which makes the current Xbox Live downtime even more frustrating.
This is all in addition to multiple emails back and forth that didn’t amount to anything other than “we can’t help you, call Xbox Support”.
45 minute call
Called and immediately asked for Tier 2 support. After hassling with Tier 1 for a few minutes, I was transfered fairly quickly to “Carlos” who PROMISED over and over that my licensing transfer would definitely be fixed by the morning of Jan. 14th and that I would receive a call-back then and they’d be able to issue some sort of compensation.
40 minute call
No callback. Called and was forced to give “Andrew” on Tier 1 support ALL my information again, even CC# before he would think of transfering me to Tier 2. Spoke with an “Ella” who didn’t have any other dates, or information for me. Decided to email the fine folks at Microsoft’s Gamerscore Blog with the run-down and history of the issue.
Resent email to Gamerscore Blog, Major Nelson, and possibly to 3 of the top executives at Microsoft and Xbox (if I got their emails correct).
John from Xbox support called (866-506-3826), and said they’d received my email and that he’d be personally looking into the issue. He gave me his number and extension and said that he would be sending out some emails and finding out what’s happening, and said he would call be in the first half of next week (Jan 21st-23rd).
John still hadn’t called back, so I called and left a message, and he didn’t call back all day.
John finally called back, a week after he said he would, and told me he didn’t have any updates, but he was still looking into things, and to keep trying deleting my content and redownloading it to see if it was fixed.
John called again and said my content was fixed. He said they would not offer my any compensation for the hassle, the time that my content hasn’t worked correctly or the time that I’ve spent on the phone trying to get this issue resolved. I came home and tried to delete/redownload the content, and it still does not work correctly. Now even John’s lied to me.