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Early Kinect Games Kill Buyers' Access To Xbox Live 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-those-support-calls dept.
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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Early Kinect Games Kill Buyers' Access To Xbox Live

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  • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday October 29, 2010 @08:00PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by contra_mundi (1362297)
        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.
        • by Ant P. (974313)

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

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Lord Kano (13027)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        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.

      • 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 exce

    • by lyinhart (1352173)
      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.
      • by LordNimon (85072)

        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 g

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Aldanga (1757414)
          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LBt1st (709520)

            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.

        • 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.

        • by KDR_11k (778916)

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

      • by Sparr0 (451780)

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

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday October 29, 2010 @08:42PM (#34069944) Journal

      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.

      • by index0 (1868500)
        What about in the future when those servers are not available, are you sure you can still play your game?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Solandri (704621)
      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 s
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 start

  • Great news! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2010 @08:01PM (#34069722)

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nitehawk214 (222219)

        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.

      • 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.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        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?
      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        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, sorr

  • Slackers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • 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]
  • 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

    • by Bert64 (520050)

      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.

    • by DarkXale (1771414)

      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... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Friday October 29, 2010 @08:47PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Friday October 29, 2010 @09:06PM (#34070050) Journal

      So why should customers suffer for the retailers mistake?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wh1pp3t (1286918)

        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.

        • 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 avi

          • by wh1pp3t (1286918)

            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).

            • Makes perfect sense to me, let the retailer eat the cost of their mistake. Either way it's a moot point now, the new dash is out today. I have to wonder if Microsoft always planned to push it out on Nov 1 or if they accelerated it a few days to help out the people stuck without XBL due to this.
      • 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 inco

        • Re:Oh Noes... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <(ten.frow) (ta) (todhsals)> on Saturday October 30, 2010 @01:08AM (#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: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            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.

          • by CaseM (746707)

            What the hell planet are you from? Street dates get broken all the time. XBL accounts are never banned over it, either. If you are playing a legitimate copy of an early-released game you have nothing to worry about (this Kinect issue excepting).

        • 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.

          Microsoft didn't make a mistake, that's the point.

          Microsoft has an official release date for Kinect and they were going to have the 360 software updates in place in time to support that launch date. The retailer screwed up and sold the product in advance of it's official well-known launch date, before Microsoft had put the support in place for it. This is completely different than Microsoft pushing empty boxes through. They have a product, they have software needed to support that product, and (as of tod

      • Fixed (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So why should Microsoft suffer for the retailers mistake?

      • by westlake (615356)

        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?

      • You might wanna ask the retailer?
    • 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 m

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        A system so full of trip switches and self-destruct buttons that not even the producer is able to avoid triggering them.

        That's absolute bullshit. Do you even know what happened here? Unauthorized firmware == ban. It's that simple, and quite frankly i prefer that than having the online component of the game full of cheaters. The side-effect you see here is because a retailer failed to honor their agreement, this is not a DRM issue, it's an issue of an opportunistic and untrustworthy retailer not anticipating the consequences of their actions.

        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?

        Because it was before the release date, it was agreed that these would not be sold un

    • by Kumiorava (95318)

      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.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        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.

        Of course not, but as the article states, the accounts were locked for unauthorized firmware. The infrastructure wasn't ready yet but this retailer has broken the release date and sold customers an incomplete product, it's the retailers who should be held accountable.

  • Huh (Score:2, Funny)

    by KingFrog (1888802)
    Not being able to use the XBox isn't a bug,it's a feature!
  • Trying to use a gaming console for physical activity
  • 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?
    • These console owners can play single player and local multiplayer. They just can't play online multiplayer until 4 November 2010.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      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.

  • 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.

  • 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?
    • by Bert64 (520050)

      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.

      • by AdamPee (1243018)
        That's called blowing a fuse. People fix it all the time!
      • by LocalH (28506)

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

        Efuses, anyone?

  • 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.

  • by Mike610544 (578872) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @12:31AM (#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.

  • Fuck Em' (Score:1, Insightful)

    by BigSes (1623417)
    Want to circumvent the release date? You get what you pay for.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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