Microsoft Xbox 360 Points are Region Specific

This is a bit of a rant, and everything you need to know is in the title alone… but it’s also an accurate account of my experience of trying to give a company money – so should you wish to avoid this particular trap (and gloat that you hopefully haven’t fallen into it), then please, peruse my tale of woe and heed the warning well!

Points Mean Prizes

Xbox 360 points are used to buy games, add-ons, and extra gubbins which you can download right away via the Xbox Marketplace (kind of like the Android Market or iTunes App Store). You can’t just pay cash on your credit card (except, I think, for outright purchased retail Xbox 360 games which you can DL to your hard drive), instead you have to spend real money buying points and then spend those points on actual games/content/digital film rentals or whatever.

The entire system is a bit meh.

Xbox Points are Region Specific
Spot the blatent lie... (image links to source)

Anyways, my Xbox gamer account (OpenR3dux) was created in the UK, and I wanted to pick up some points the other day so I could buy the Resident Evil 5 Untold Stories bundle, and the Shetboy and I could get our zombie whuppin’ on. So, I go along to a local electronics/games/music store and pick up a 1500 point card for $27AUD, which is more than I need as the expansion is only 960 points (but it’s not like you can buy 960 points). Ho-hum – 1500 points it is…

Consumer Consumed

I get a card, head home, peel off the back strip to get my 25 digit point-redemption code, enter it into the 360, and it tells me to get stuffed: Invalid code.

I try to redeem the code online through the web interface, and it tells me to sling my hook again: Invalid code.

I call Xbox technical support and fight my way through a bewildering array of options (is this a support query? or maybe an account query?), they make me listen to five minutes of spiel unrelated to anything I want assistance with, and then drop my call.

I call Xbox technical support again, go through the options, and finally manage to get through to a customer representative in India (or at least with an Indian accent) called “John”. English is not John’s first language, and I have to spell out my entire name, address and postcode phonetically A for Alpha, B for Bravo style…

I then have to provide my 25 digit redemption code phonetically. Twice. Because John is a bit mutton and stuffs it up the first time even though we’re crawling through the details at a glacial pace in my best BBC voice. Finally, John manages to identify the problem: As those with keen eyes might have already spotted in the title – Microsoft Xbox 360 points are region specific.

I can’t take the points card back to the shop because its opened, and I doubt they’d believe me when I say I haven’t redeemed the code, so I get riffing with John about how we can resolve this issue:

You can see that the code is valid, just not for this region, so can you invalidate this code (i.e. set it redeemed), and you credit me 1500 Microsoft points?
No.

Can you invalidate this code and give me a new UK code which I can actually use?
No.

Is there anything you can do?
I recommend that you create a new, Australian GamerCard/account and use the points with that.

Xbox Live points: Free TeapotWTF?! Part of the fun of having a GamerCard is that when you play games and do certain things you get achievements, which then contribute to your GamerScore, and while this bears no correlation to your penis size, IQ or your skill as a gamer – it does give some indication and record of what you’ve played and what you’ve managed to achieve in terms of game progress. I’m not creating a new account, and that’s all there is to it.

The Workaround

The (still unredeemed) card will go in a box to be used for Christmas presents (but only for people with AU region GamerCards), and I will not be buying Xbox points cards again: Instead, I had to buy the points directly through the Xbox on my credit card and that went through instantly with no issues. Which is what I should have done in the first place.

The problem with a post like this is that no-one will ever find it until it’s too late, and by this stage they too have gone through the automated voice-message wrangler and spelt out every letter of every word and code to a disinterested and underpaid help rep as well.

S for Sierra, U for Uniform, C for Charlie, K for Kilo, S for Sierra…

DJ Hero is Surprisingly Good Fun! =D

Like cheese Guitar Hero? Like peas Mash-Ups? Then you’ll love new Cheesy-Peas rhythm-action game DJ Hero! (in original and new strawberry flavour)…

No, honestly… I couldn’t have cared less about DJ Hero – because if I wanted to be a DJ and get money for playing other peoples records and talking shite then I’d be doing it already. But the wife had a keen eye and snapped it up for $49AUD (including the turntable peripheral) and hot DAMN! It’s actually really fun! =D

There’s something like 93 tracks that come with it by default, with the option to download track-packs and such, so plenty of diff music to mess with. You can play along with the deck and a guitar with some of the tracks to bulk up the at-home party angle (as it’s unlikely anyone’s going to have two deck peripherals), and it’s really rather good. I’m not sure what else to say without feeling like they’ve paid me money or something – I’m just shocked that it’s equally as good as any guitar hero or rock band game, I guess.

Also, it has DJ Shadow tracks in it (example). And he’s awesome =D

Limbo

I hear good things about a new Xbox Live game (by Danish indie-devs Playdead ) called Limbo… When I showed the below trailer to the wife last night she said it looks like a very dark Little Big Planet – which I’ve got to say wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, but she could well be on to something there…

Apparently it’s only about four hours of gameplay, but it’s one of those games that when you finish it you’ll be happy to sit down and discuss what it all meant with your mates… Hmm, very tempted to pick it up (1200 points, 117MB) – and it seems there’s a demo available too.

Might just check that out right now :)

Shadow Complex

Hmm… Could well be tempted to grab the demo of this… but when will I have time to play it once Colin McRae Dirt 2 comes out?! =D

Update: Seems like there’s a bit of a Gay Rights furor about this one, as it’s set in a universe created by pro-actively anti gay-rights novelist Orson Scott Card, so each copy sold is money in his pocket. Read further details. Make up your own mind. Personally I think it’s a great shame that all the hard work of the dev team has been tainted by the views held by one person distantly related to the project.

New XBox 360 Motion Capture System

Looks interesting, and I really don’t want to be a hater, but you’ve got to wonder about some things:

– How fine a degree of control will you have?
– If I’m playing a skateboarding game, can the camera tell if I want the board to do a heelflip, or a heelflip shove-it? Ya know, is it accurate?
– How accurate do -I- have to be?
– How knackering will playing fighting games be on a scale of 1 to fuck-that?
– How’s a FPS gonna work? One hand for gun angle and the other for forward/back/left/right/strafe?
– Who do I sue when I break my neck on the coffee table playing Mirrors Edge 2?

Also, it’s all showing an idealised version of things not real gameplay, as the kids fingers were covering part of the board when he scanned it, yet no fingers in the scanned image. Hmm, I’m coming off as a hater here – and I’m sure lots of cool uses for this will arise, I’m just not sure about how many of them aren’t kinda gimicky…

Also, the voice recognition will be like this – no matter WHAT you ask it to do =P :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0H5k–n7sFI

Okay, so I’m cynical as all hell AND a playah-hater… Oh, well. I really hope it works out, but I guess the only way to find out will be to wait and see…