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Early Kinect Games Kill Buyers' Access To Xbox Live

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the enjoy-those-support-calls dept.

XBox (Games) 111

Stoobalou writes "Microsoft's Kinect motion controller isn't due to ship until November 4th, but one retailer has jumped the gun, leaving a number of gamers with a bit of a quandary. The un-named distributor has sent what Microsoft describes as 'a very small number' of Kinect systems to lucky buyers who might not consider themselves quite so lucky if they try to use the device and its bundled games. Installing the games will require a firmware upgrade, which is nothing out of the ordinary, but in this case the upgrade hasn't yet been released. Attempting to install the non-existent update seems to fool the console into thinking you are trying to play a pirated game and locks the user out of Microsoft's Xbox Live on-line service."

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Just another reason (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069708)

Not to buy locked down hardware or software, particularly if it requires the permission of a remote server in order to be allowed to function.

Re:Just another reason (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069744)

If the alternative is to miss out on cool features like network multiplay, maybe that's a tradeoff that some people are willing to make.

I understand the concept of philosophical purity, but pragmatism has always led to a more comfortable existence. Extremist positions like the one you are espousing may be perfectly fine, but it denies the clear fact that there are definite benefits to the non-pure approach that come with whatever liabilities are inherent in such a system.

Re:Just another reason (3, Interesting)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069808)

Well gee whiz.

I had no idea I was being a purist or an extremist for not liking DRM and/or other people being able to delete my games that I bought with hard cash.

Furthermore, multiplayer games have worked just fine without DRM.

Re:Just another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070074)

>Furthermore, multiplayer games have worked just fine without DRM.

Yeah, if you love playing with cheaters and griefers. LOL

Re:Just another reason (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070204)

A good admin(s) and proper admin controls let's you do wonders.

And it's not like games with DRM are free of either cheaters or griefers.

Re:Just another reason (2, Insightful)

billsayswow (1681722) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070216)

I dunno, I run into the same amount of cheaters in games with countermeasures against such things as I do in games without. Besides, votekick/voteban is a lovely tool, as well as servers with admins. Or, you could always... you know... go to a different server, or tough it out. Sometimes it's fun to try and take them down, too.

Re:Just another reason (3, Informative)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070500)

Have you played CODMW2 on 360? Plenty of cheaters. No admin tools. DRM'd up the ass. Conversely, my TF2 server has an active admin, built in admin tools plus expanded ones built by the community, and has a simple unobtrusive DRM platform.

Re:Just another reason (3, Funny)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070802)

and has a simple unobtrusive DRM platform.

Is that something like a condom with only three razor-sharp titanium spikes, rather than six?

Re:Just another reason (1)

Pingmaster (1049548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071124)

Not at all. It's more like five razor-sharp titanium spikes, rather than nine.

Re:Just another reason (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34072400)

and has a simple unobtrusive DRM platform.

Is that something like a condom with only three razor-sharp titanium spikes, rather than six?

that depends are the three razors on the inside or the outside?

Re:Just another reason (1)

BigSes (1623417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075318)

No, you just suck.

Re:Just another reason (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071092)

There are even opensource multiplayer games and they work fine too.

Re:Just another reason (3, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071380)

I don't know who told that DRM is needed to prevent cheating , but i must admit , it is a clever way of getting people to support DRM : If you don't support it , you are branded a cheater.

Re:Just another reason (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071730)

Much like people that are against the government invading their privacy are criminals/terrorists, right? It makes sense because it's so true and an authority figure told me so!

Re:Just another reason (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071726)

"Yeah, if you love playing with cheaters and griefers. LOL"

DRM doesn't eliminate cheaters OR griefers. It hurts paying customers by restricting what they can and cannot do with the game. What gets rid of "cheaters and griefers," if you really want them gone, is a ban function for individual servers.

Re:Just another reason (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34073856)

There's something seriously wrong with a society which labels common sense as "extremist".

Re:Just another reason (1, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070568)

If the alternative is to miss out on cool features like network multiplay, maybe that's a tradeoff that some people are willing to make.

I play network games on my PC, about 5 nights a week.

Fuck every one of those locked down crap box consoles.

LK

Re:Just another reason (2, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071878)

That's effectively blackmail, since there is no reason why network multiplayer would actually require a drm system like that. We were playing quake online for years before anyone even considered schemes like that.

Re:Just another reason (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072822)

Until you happen to buy one of those locked down things where
-the vendor simply switches off the servers (IIRC Electronic Arts "retires" some games after merely two years). This may be illegal, but you still have to start an expensive lawsuit to do something about it.
-or the vendor goes bankrupt and cannot provide the service anymore.
-or a simple bug (as in TFA) locks you out.

For myself, I have settled on a strong but not absolute anti-DRM stance:
Usually I won't buy locked down stuff, but I may make an exception if there is a strong incentive and nothing else depends on the DRM-encumbered product. Examples:
-I got "Day Of Defeat: Source" despite DRM, to play with some friends who are big fans of DOD.
-but Windows Vista and later are still no-gos because a DRM-related failure of the operating system would also make a lot of my applications worthless.

Overall, that makes me someone who is unlikely to ever buy a typical games console ;-)

Re:Just another reason (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069784)

That would mean not buying any video game consoles, since they're *all* locked down, save for maybe the Atari 2600 and the Pandora. Besides, the Xbox 360 will function just fine without Live. And you know what, Microsoft can keep the "privilege" of having to pay for laggy multiplayer modes and copy protected digital content.

Re:Just another reason (1)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069990)

Do you realize that you do not need to purchase any DRM-encumbered content in order to enjoy playing online games? You can can buy disc-only games (of which there are hundreds), download only the free updates, and then sell the game when you're done.

As for the lag, now you're just trolling. I play multiplayer games on my Xbox every week, and there's no lag unless something is wrong with the Internet or Microsoft's servers at that time. I certainly doubt that Xbox Live games exhibit any more lag than PC games.

Re:Just another reason (2, Insightful)

Aldanga (1757414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070118)

I play a ton of Xbox LIVE and can tell you that pings were upwards of 250-300ms for most every MW2 game I ever got matched in. (The latency is a big reason why I quit playing MW2 on Xbox LIVE.) My home latency is around 50ms, so that's an additional 100ms latency to and from the game's host after reaching the Internet's backbone. I get 80ms latency to West Coast TF2 servers (I'm in Kansas) if that tells you anything about the quality of P2P gaming.

Re:Just another reason (2, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071156)

You guys fail to realize that xbox live is a matchmaking service. The games are not hosted on MS's servers. Your xbox is connected to someone elses xbox. Just like a PC is connected to another PC. Live simply points the xboxes at each other. Your lag is a direct result of the connection between you and the xbox which is hosting.

Multiplayer without online (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070236)

Do you realize that you do not need to purchase any DRM-encumbered content in order to enjoy playing online games?

Maybe I don't want to get teabagged in online games. Maybe I have friends or relatives who like to play together in front of one big monitor [pineight.com] . But because only a small number of geeks have home theater PCs, games with local multiplayer tend to be released only for locked-down consoles.

Re:Just another reason (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071100)

You can even buy indie games that are DRM-free and downloaded.

Re:Just another reason (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070940)

I enjoyed the 2600, and enjoy my GP2Xs greatly. I'll love my Pandora when it arrives.

Re:Just another reason (5, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069944)

Although the summary and linked article blame DRM (and I'm not one to defend that restrictive crap), the original joystiq article [joystiq.com] implies that it's just grabbing an incomplete update which doesn't have proper Xbox Live support yet. Nothing to do with DRM or copyright, simply that MS haven't set up a final version of the new firmware yet because they thought they had another few days to do so.

Re:Just another reason (1)

index0 (1868500) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070824)

What about in the future when those servers are not available, are you sure you can still play your game?

Re:Just another reason (0, Troll)

fitteschleiker (742917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070886)

Well I guess if you buy the game and don't play it for somewhere between 5 and 10 years, and miss out on the install once FIRMWARE and you finally try to play it for the first time after the xbox live servers go dark, it may not work. fucking retard

Re:Just another reason (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071500)

I have a NES and a MegaDrive that I've owned for decades now, and I still get them out and play them every couple of years. I also have a big library of PC games, many of which dating back to the '90s, which I can still play online- either via IP dialling or good old fashioned LAN play.

The fact an X-Box (and most new PC games) seem to have a built in expiry date (as soon as the company gets bored of supporting it) seems like a big step backwards for me. Certainly a disincentive to investing the hundreds upon hundreds of pounds that gaming hardware and a big games library calls for.

Re:Just another reason (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072086)

That's why I only buy PC games. They might have online activation DRM. But I wait with buying till they are cracked. This way I support the developers and am also sure I can still play the game 10 years later.

Re:Just another reason (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34075062)

The fact an X-Box (and most new PC games) seem to have a built in expiry date (as soon as the company gets bored of supporting it)
All disc based console games i've seen so far can be played offline without ever connecting to the internet. If firmware updates are needed then they are included on the game disc. Sometimes you get some bonus dlc if you connect to the internet and register but it's usually nothing major.

PC games are actually worse than console games in this regard, most newer ones require online activation and a few of them are even requiring constant internet connection.

Re:Just another reason (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070332)

This isn't an anti-piracy measure, it's to keep people from using beta firmwares before Microsoft officially releases them. The Kinect firmware in question was given to a few 10,000 or so who signed up for the update preview program. Xbox Live will not let you sign in on a console with beta firmware unless your gamertag is registered as part of the update program.

In fact, during the NXE update program, they warned users not to swap saves or profiles between then-current FW consoles and ones running the NXE prerelease firmware. Since Xbox firmware updates are stored to all storage media, it would spread the prerelease firmware to the other console, locking your friend out of Xbox Live (unless he was accepted to the program).

Aside from this, Xbox Live does *not* enforce street dates. Xbox Live only bans for piracy (or stealing betas, like what happened with the Halo 3 Epsilon), if you have a legitimate disc than you won't be punished even if you got it earlier than what the publisher wanted you to.

Re:Just another reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070480)

what??11oneone

how am I supposed to play this month's regurgitated FPS game, now with more "cut-and-paste level design" (TM)?

I surely can't spend $500 to build a decent gaming PC that I would actually own and control. (sans monitor/keyboard/mouse)

I am Joe average public. I must let someone do everything else for me. Computers are so hard and EXPENSIVE!!oneone11

Re:Just another reason (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070622)

Anonymous Coward wrote in sarcasm:

I surely can't spend $500 to build a decent gaming PC

It's not just $500; it's up to $2,000 to make a LAN's worth of decent gaming PCs because PC games tend not to have local multiplayer. Compare this to $400 for an Xbox 360 and three extra gamepads, and you start to see where Joe Average Public gets the idea that giving up control of one's purchased hardware is cheaper and easier.

Re:Just another reason (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071754)

"It's not just $500; it's up to $2,000 to make a LAN's worth of decent gaming PCs because PC games tend not to have local multiplayer."

Not really the fault of the computer, however.

Fault for lack of console-style PC games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071906)

PC games tend not to have local multiplayer.

Not really the fault of the computer, however.

The lack of local multiplayer in PC games appears to be the fault of PC owners for not connecting a PC to the HDTV in the living room, which in turn appears to be the fault of PC makers for not promoting media center PCs or home theater PCs to the public.

Re:Fault for lack of console-style PC games (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071964)

No, I'm pretty sure it's the fault of the game developers. I can see where they are coming from, though. Things like splitscreen support usually aren't added to PC games due to the fact that once you already have multiplayer in the game, it's far easier to rely on that than to code in splitscreen support (which not many people will probably use anyway). Not to mention that I suppose it's kind of awkward doing that on a PC, anyway.

Re:Fault for lack of console-style PC games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072232)

No, I'm pretty sure it's the fault of the game developers.

Major game developers have an excuse: they think consoles are more profitable for local multiplayer games. They have made the decision based on 1. their size, which can absorb the overhead of developing for locked-down consoles like the Xbox 360, and 2. their observation that PC makers haven't sold enough media center PCs to their audience.

Things like splitscreen support usually aren't added to PC games due to the fact that once you already have multiplayer in the game, it's far easier to rely on that than to code in splitscreen support

If this were true, more PC games would support spawn installation [wikipedia.org] . It appears to me that PC game developers just want to sell two to four copies per household instead of one, as David Wong of Cracked pointed out two years ago [cracked.com] . Besides, not all game designs need to split the screen: see Gauntlet series, Bomberman series, and fighting games.

(which not many people will probably use anyway). Not to mention that I suppose it's kind of awkward doing [local multiplayer] on a PC

My point was that it would be significantly less awkward to do local multiplayer if there were more media center PCs.

Re:Fault for lack of console-style PC games (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34073028)

Not to mention that I suppose it's kind of awkward doing that on a PC, anyway.

And until a few years ago, I guess it was because the screen sizes and resolutions on a typical PC were lacking.

But today, a quick look into my preferred online shop shows 23" screens with 1920x1080 pixel resolution starting at 150 Euros. HDTV sets with the same resolution and 32" size start at 350 euros.

I guess splitting the 1920x1080 pixels vertically would still leave you with a good enough resolution for most games.

Re:Just another reason (2, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070604)

It doesn't sound like it's locking down the hardware or software. It's locking you out of an online service (Xbox Live). Generally, I don't have problems with services which operate this way. A product, you buy and take home, and it's yours to do with as you wish (or should be). In contrast, a service is an ongoing thing. You agree to abide by certain terms (and usually pay a recurring fee), they agree to let you use the service. Violate those terms or fail to provide satisfactory service and either side can break the deal.

The problem here actually stems from the fact that the hardware is needlessly tied to a single service. That's what's turning what should be a service problem into a hardware problem. If the hardware wasn't locked to Xbox Live and you could hop onto whatever other Internet Xbox gaming service was out there, this would be a non-issue. All that would happen is that Microsoft's attempt at control would hurt themselves by cutting people off from their own Xbox Live service, thus driving these people to other services. But because the hardware is locked, the fallout from the error becomes the Xbox owner's problem instead of Microsoft's.

For the obligatory car analogy, imagine if car manufacturers could make it so your car could only run on roads owned by the manufacturer. So Ford cars would only run on Ford roads, GM cars would only run on GM roads, etc., each owner paying a monthly fee to their respective auto manufacturer to use the roads which are being provided as a service. Once the owner is locked in that way, you effectively have a monopoly and free market forces cease to work. There's very little incentive for Ford or GM to improve their respective roads so long as their cars are distinctive enough that most of the purchasing decision is based on the features of the car, not the roads they drive on. If suddenly Ford roads develop potholes, it's a problem for the Ford car owners, not a problem for Ford. They can take as long as they like to fix the potholes because the Ford owners are forced to continue using Ford roads.

OTOH, if cars aren't locked to their manufacturer's roads, and owners are allowed to buy the service to operate on another manufacturer's roads, then Ford owners would simply stop subscribing to Ford roads. They'd switch their subscription to GM roads until the pothole problem was fixed (and probably many of them wouldn't switch back). Now the negatives caused by the problem are correctly directed at the entity which is responsible for dealing with it, and market forces create a huge incentive for Ford to fix those potholes mighty quick to staunch the loss of drivers paying to use their roads. So the real problem here is that the hardware is needlessly tied to a single service provider, causing incidents like this to become a problem for the customer rather than for the manufacturer.

Re:Just another reason (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071040)

Actually it has nothing to do with that. The original story got it wrong. What happens is the disk starts the firmware update (pretty standard--think of all the games that try to install direct x when you install them for example). But what happens is the update starts, then it looks online for part 2 of the update. Part 2 of the update has not been uploaded to the xbox live servers quite yet, so the update fails midway. The difference is in this case that there's no way to undo the update you've started, so as far as the xbox can tell, you haven't updated your console completely which you need to have to play online.

Most online games on the PC require you to play using the same version as everyone else, no different here.

Great news! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069722)

The more honest buyers get hurt by any form of DRM, including these forms of draconian measures, the better.

Re:Great news! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069790)

Technically (from Microsoft's point of view) they're not honest - they're breaking the release date and are being punished for it.

If you read most gaming sites that have reported this, the general sheeple consensus is that it serves them right for trying to play early.

Sigh.

Re:Great news! (1, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069816)

I disagree completely. These customers had no idea the game was not supposed to be played. The shop that released early might be liable, but it is still crap design by Microsoft.

Re:Great news! (3, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069974)

That's the point. Innocent people whose only "crime" is thinking DRM isn't a bad idea need to get hurt by DRM, or they'll never know why we think it's such a bad idea.

Re:Great news! (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069844)

Technically (from Microsoft's point of view) they're not honest - they're breaking the release date and are being punished for it.

If you read most gaming sites that have reported this, the general sheeple consensus is that it serves them right for trying to play early.

Sigh.

Haha.

What reaction can you expect from a green-with-envy 14-year-old.

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069888)

nah can't be 14... more than 50% of the words are spelled correctly ;)

Re:Great news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071036)

If the internet has taught me anything, it's that spelling and grammar are orthogonal to age. Also, trained monkeys play Halo better than I can.

Re:Great news! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069864)

Except that customers who got them would not necessarily have had any way to know that their getting the product early was not a legitimate promotion of some sort. Some might have, but there's a good chance this happened fast enough that nobody was able to do anything about it before it was too late. Still think it's the consumer's fault?

Re:Great news! (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071542)

Ah, so the moral of the story is "You shouldn't be pre-ordering official Microsoft products from big-name retailers".

No, wait. It's "You shouldn't be playing games that get delivered to your home without first going to a bricks-and-mortar shop to check the release date with a shop assistant".

Hang on, no. I've got it, it's "You should always cross reference firmware update numbers with your official Microsoft technical support resource before allowing any system modifications to take place".

Actually no, sorry, I don't think I do get it after all.

Slackers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069860)

I guess this is what happens when you get your big gaming store together hiring the most incompetent store employees in the world - 16 year olds whose first game was Halo. At that point, working for GameStop is more of an ego effect and bragging rights such as kinecting early here.

Where's the TFA? (1)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069862)

TFS is half of the linked article, which is a summary of an unnamed Joystiq story. One found here http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/28/psa-got-a-kinect-game-early-dont-stick-it-in/ [joystiq.com]

A link to TFA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34069970)

click here [ow.ly]

fool me once (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069892)

This is the primary reason I don't buy MS kit unless I have to. I have spent too many hours trying to fool MS into thinking that my legally purchased products were not pirated. It seems to me that MS puts much more time into making sure customers can't use the product than making sure the product is reliable.

And I know this is not really MS fault, just like it is not MS fault that if I upgrade a computer MS WIndows is considered a pirated copy or if I change computer MS Office is now pirated. It is the fault of the users that received a product and thought that it was usable.

Re:fool me once (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071910)

Yes, this is extremely common too.. Software companies expend huge efforts implementing various drm and license enforcing mechanisms, all that time and added complexity to implement features that at best don't benefit the customer and at worst are extremely detrimental to the paying customers... When instead, all that effort should be focused on improving the product in ways that will benefit those people who actually buy it.

Re:fool me once (1)

DarkXale (1771414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071932)

Strange. I have seen Windows loosing its genuine status a few times - but so far its required nothing more than [WINKEY] + [PAUSE] and pressing Activate Now in order to get it back to its old genuine self.

Well with one exception; the motherboard on a computer broke and had to be replaced - at that time I had to phone up the automated validation system and validate it that way. Curious as to what issues you've had though...

Oh Noes... (3, Insightful)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069966)

How terrible, XBox live has a system built in to prevent unauthorized firmware that may well be used for things like hacked games, game trainers and other things that would ruin the experience for other players who have not similarly modified their systems. I know people want to spin this as another "DRM is evil" type story but to use this would be over-reaching. Open platform or not it would be in the best interest of gamers to not have some people with the ability to cheat while other do not. Sure the unauthorized firmware bit can be used to hamper piracy but it's not the only reason to have such a system in place.

The retailers were told not to release the games until a specific date so that shipments could be assured to all stores at the same time for reasons I'm sure include preventing the usual mayhem involved in too few for too many. Microsoft was under no obligation to push the prerequisites to the servers until the date they told everyone the games could be sold. Yes, Microsoft may do a lot of things that aren't appreciated by the open/free software community but this really isn't ammunition for that cause.

Re:Oh Noes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070030)

Your spinning is not so great either!

Re:Oh Noes... (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070050)

So why should customers suffer for the retailers mistake?

Re:Oh Noes... (3, Interesting)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070128)

So why should customers suffer for the retailers mistake?

Then the retailer should make it right. Perhaps provide an extra year of XBox Live for the inconvienence.
It's not like the accounts are blacklisted; the users cannot log into XBox Live until Microsoft releases the updated dashboard.

Wrong. They should mail in the system to MS (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070724)

That way it can be properly prepared over the course of a week instead of having them wait 1 or 2 days for things to start work naturally working again.

It would be a net win for MS. They get consumer confidence without having to shell out the price for a free membership for the inconvenience, and the customer gets to feel warm and fuzzy.

When people lose access to their one source of killing free time, it is *amazing* how ansy they get. Be a person with a cable subscription, an XBox Like account, or an avid facebook user.

Re:Wrong. They should mail in the system to MS (1)

wh1pp3t (1286918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070788)

Your point regarding how impatient and dependent people get about online services is very valid.
However I stated the retailer should provide the extra membership. None of this is the fault of Microsoft (unless the product was purchased directly from them, which of course is not in this case).

Re:Oh Noes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070248)

The customer should return to the retailer and complain that the device destroyed their own device. The retailer probably has a contractual agreement with Microsoft and will own the entire liability of the matter.

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070288)

So why should customers suffer for the retailers mistake?

What do you mean why should they? Who says they should? The retailer and Microsoft made a mistake. This is not much different than if Microsoft had pushed empty boxes through retail outlets and customers got screwed over. Go return the thing to the retailer, ask for money back, and complain to Microsoft support. The particulars of DRM are insignificant here, and the only thing that matters is how the retailer and Microsoft responds, and if they do it again. Same as if they'd done anything else to inconvenience you.

Re:Oh Noes... (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071010)

What do you mean why should they? Who says they should? The retailer and Microsoft made a mistake. This is not much different than if Microsoft had pushed empty boxes through retail outlets and customers got screwed over. Go return the thing to the retailer, ask for money back, and complain to Microsoft support. The particulars of DRM are insignificant here, and the only thing that matters is how the retailer and Microsoft responds, and if they do it again. Same as if they'd done anything else to inconvenience you.

I can tell you that Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and publishers get VERY interested in a retailer that breaks street date. Microsoft can't really be blamed for providing an incomplete update as no one other than beta testers are supposed to have it (and they are warned to NOT move their hard drive around because the update will mess up Xbox360s not in the beta)

Retailers are deathly afraid of breaking street date. Individual stores get fined for breaking it (lots of money - 10s of thousands of dollars easily), and even worse, entire chains can get put on industry blacklists that basically mean they never, ever receive product ahead of time - the product they ordered would be shipped on the release date which means their customers only get the product a few days afterwards (plus the lowered margins since they have to pay for overnight shipping back and forth, and the obvious loss of business when customers leave them because they can't get product on time).

That's why stores breaking street date tend to be rare - I think the last case involved some Atari game that a publisher bought retail from another retailer who broke street date for the publisher only. And the publisher refused to identify who sold it to them which is why Atari blamed them for pirating a game - no one should have a copy. I think the last time it happened resulted in people having to wait for the activation servers to come alive - they had the game, but were locked out from playing it. And gamers often find themselves banned for piracy if playing unreleased games online.

Microsoft's mistake is having a beta update available - but that's a given, since they have people with beta Kinect hardware. The only people who should be getting that update are those in the beta program. To demand that the consoles have the latest firmware available isn't an unusual request - you'll find Sony does the same thing, as does Nintendo, as does Steam should you want to play online to prevent cheating.

This is a rare circumstance - beta testers are warned about moving their hard drives around would screw with Xbox Live connectivity, and this retailer seriously messed up. At the very least, Microsoft would be very interested in talking to those people and would probably pay not only to have those Xboxes and Kinects returned back to Microsoft (and exchanged with new ones), but the retailer is going to pay Microsoft for it all.

It's also interesting that most big-name titles have "DO NOT SELL BEFORE xx/xx/xxxx" printed on the stickers on the game itself too - I would presume Kinect hardware and games have similar markings so it's not as if the retailer didn't know.

My guess is, that retailer or chain is now in some very hot water. Usually these things are handled very quietly, but once it starts hitting the news big-time, heads will roll...

Re:Oh Noes... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34073512)

You'd be wrong actually - there have been a number of high-profile street-date-broken events in recent years, some from smaller retailers that don't like all the attention GameStop et al get, and some from retailers that have employees that just screw up. Just Google "street date broken" and you'll see a long list of events.

Fixed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070602)

So why should Microsoft suffer for the retailers mistake?

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070692)

So why should customers suffer for the retailers mistake?

We are well into a long weekend of Halloween partying. What makes you think this was a mistake - and not another run for the gold?

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

giuseppemag (1100721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071162)

You might wanna ask the retailer?

Re:Oh Noes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071660)

Because customers made the mistake of purchasing a console that needs updates.

They were warned years ago when first xbox broke a rule of console gaming: released games must work without any patching.

Super Mario Galaxy works perfectly without patches, btw... Gotta be something to do with the different cultures where MS and Nintendo come from. MS culture thinks releasing shit is ok because they can always patch later.

For the obvious reason ofcourse ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071692)

... because they cannot defend themselves.

They also are at the mercy of Microsoft. Making big waves could get them locked out of their xbox-account forever, and leave them with a costly paper-weight and coasters.

Re:Oh Noes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070056)

But the buyer here is a bona fide purchaser. The retailer, not end user, has agreed to not sell the product until a certain date. You may argue that the end user should have known, but that's not good enough. The end user is not a party to the retailer/manufacturer contract and has no notice actual or constructive. The end user bought a product, legitimately, and received the official legal product early. The user would have no reason to think their legitimate purchase would make MS consider them hackers, cheaters, or an otherwise nefarious entity.

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070148)

I can certainly sympathize with the customers' position. But can you with the vendor's? Lets say you created some software. You have a contract with the retailers who will sell your product that stipulates they were not to sell until a certain date but they sold it early anyway. Your team is set to push prerequisites to the server before that date but they're not in place before one of your retailers break contract and sells the software early. Unfortunately, the protection mechanism built into your server kicks in when it detects "bad behavior" from a system trying to connect to it. Should you now be on the hook? It's the retailer's fault and the recompense should come from the retailer not yourself.

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070946)

The retailer doesn't have the means to reinstate the user's account. Sure, they should and probably do have a fine for breaking the release date, but it is still the vendor's duty to go through their servers and reverse the 'bad behavior' bit that got instated. If that takes a ton of work, they should have a higher fine for breaking the release date. If they can't do that, the users should be screaming their heads off.

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072324)

How is this not an example of DRM being evil? A system so full of trip switches and self-destruct buttons that not even the producer is able to avoid triggering them. When did it become acceptable that a big company can dictate what retailers and end-users can do with their computers which they have paid for and which are rightfully theirs?
A few years down the line these devices will become e-waste because people don't have the freedom to repurpose them for some other task. This way artificial scarcity is maintained and the world stays nice and simple the way our invisible rulers like it.

Re:Oh Noes... (1)

Kumiorava (95318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34073682)

I think the bottom line here is/should be that locking a consumer live account for inserting a purchased game is not a valid course of action. Even if the game was bought from a retailer who let it go out some time before the live date it's still not acceptable. I assume from the article that the firmware update wasn't successful because something was missing and whole system is still in it's original state. Only thing broken is the way Microsoft locked live accounts of these people.

Huh (2, Funny)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34069998)

Not being able to use the XBox isn't a bug,it's a feature!

Re:Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070630)

Now if only Facebook would include that...

Serves them right (2, Funny)

Danieljury3 (1809634) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070082)

Trying to use a gaming console for physical activity

Every pre-release dashboard does that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070206)

That's how every early access to a Xbox 360 dashboard is, you can install it if your not on the "early access beta" list but your not going to be allowed to sign into Xbox Live! until the official release date. They can survive without Live! access until November 4th.

Not locked out due to piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070238)

It doesn't "lock" you out. The new dashboard is in beta stages. If you install it and your console serial isn't registered as a beta tester then you will be rejected from Xbox Live until the official release.

This has nothing to do with software piracy, get the facts right.

what happens if... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070282)

im not sure about Xbox Live because im a Playstation owner, but i know that some single-player games must "check-in" with the PSN before they fire up gameplay. If a user is locked out of the PSN this is an issue(heard of it happening) but what about Live? Will these unlucky users be banished from playing even single-player games in the event they are locked out?

Re:what happens if... (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070462)

These console owners can play single player and local multiplayer. They just can't play online multiplayer until 4 November 2010.

Re:what happens if... (1)

cbhacking (979169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071700)

You can play single-player completely offline, if you want to. All functions except online play, chat, streaming, and downloads (DLC, updates, etc.) will work just fine even if you remove the network connection entirely.

AWESOME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070348)

Once again, another case where DRM is a bad idea.

Not only can pirates most likely still find ways to play the games, but microsoft will end up pissing off the REAL customers that paid for it.

WAY TO GO! :D

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070542)

I went to the store and bought a shiny new gamepad at a great price. After plugging it into my Linux PC, I decided to play some Urban Terror online. Imagine my complete lack of surprise when the game loaded up and connected to my favorite server, just as it always does. No need to install "firmware updates" or anything like that.

Re:Meanwhile, back at the ranch... (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071018)

Urban Terror proves the existence of intelligent life in the world of online gaming. About 1300 servers hosted by the players themselves and always new maps. A very large and vibrant community.

Blown out of proportion (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070584)

I've seen this story going around the last couple of days. Most of us don't have early kinect games, seems like sites like engadget etc that got early access can't play and are making a mountain out of a mole hill. So you can't play your xbox for a couple of days, whoop dee effing do.

This is news why? (1)

AdamPee (1243018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070710)

I'm sure that this is being solved on Microsoft's end, and will be remedied in good time. I mean, I'm not a big Microsoft guy either, but if this were a circumstance where the hardware had a defect and caused the system to short or something, and Microsoft were going to fix it, you all couldn't care less. Why's a software bug like this so different?

Re:This is news why? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071996)

Because it's not a purely accidental bug...
It's an intentional feature which is designed to screw the end user under certain circumstances, which is being triggered by unintended circumstances. If microsoft designed a system to intentionally short out under certain circumstances people would be equally annoyed.

Re:This is news why? (1)

AdamPee (1243018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072028)

That's called blowing a fuse. People fix it all the time!

Re:This is news why? (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072292)

If microsoft designed a system to intentionally short out under certain circumstances people would be equally annoyed.

Efuses, anyone?

Which retailer? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070868)

The article refuses to name which retailer shipped early, but does anyone have any idea who did it? I know that just recently, Newegg had messed up and shipped out Rock Band 3 about a month before release.

Misleading. Has nothing to do with antipiracy (1)

Karunamon (1845630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070878)

Okay. Have you ever noticed that when you put a new game in your 360 for the first time, the first thing it does is ask to download an update from MS? Even if you just got the game on launch day? What's happening here is that the kinect software initiates its own firmware upgrade to make sure things work. That's fine, but when you actually load up the game, it tries to contact Microsoft for a non existent update. Can anyone with an xbox tell me what happens if you decline an update? Yup. Booted off of live until you accept it. There's some kind of version mismatching going on here. Nothing quite so tacky as a failed antipiracy method.

Questionable conclusion in summary (3, Informative)

Mike610544 (578872) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070904)

Attempting to install the non-existent update seems to fool the console into thinking you are trying to play a pirated game

It's likely that the XBox update is working properly, but the production servers aren't set up to communicate with the new firmware yet. Unless the affected systems don't start working properly on the release date, this is just dumb antimicrosoftism.

What!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34070990)

A software update bricks your [insert Microsoft product]!

Re:What!? (1)

wampus (1932) | more than 3 years ago | (#34071182)

Sounds accurate. Bricks can't play online with a different version of the software, either.

Kwpolska (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34071536)

The Kinect is a piece of crap, it couldn't be used with the X360 game library, which already sucks, so go figure...

So... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34072046)

Shall they be known as "kinectic-kill weapons" now?
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