So, following my 360′s demise I was looking up the practicalities of using an alternate borrowed machine temporarily until the repair is turned around. I’ve bought a lot of DLC (mostly Rock Band, but also quite a few XBLA games, Gears maps etc), and I know the license for them is associated with the machine, so I looked up the license transfer tool. All seemed pretty sensible and reasonable – I’d have to download everything again, but that’s no big deal.
Until I read the FAQ and realised that you can only transfer your licenses via this mechanism once every 12 months. WTF?
As I understand it, when a console is repaired, the license transfer is done automatically and doesn’t require you to use this tool (and also doesn’t count against your ‘once per 12 months’ limit). However, what I want to do is to use a borrowed machine until the repair comes back, and really I want to take all my DLC with me in both cases. I’m really not sure if trying to do this will cause the automatic transfer on repair not to work, and leave my DLC stranded on the ‘intermediate’ machine – I’m seeing a few scare stories of people being told ‘tough’ by XBox support on this when they’ve tried to juggle 360s (usually because of a failure). Therefore, I may not transfer the DLC to the intermediate machine, which is a PITA because it basically rules out Rock Band, Peggle etc for the intervening period. Gah.
I have to be honest here, I have no idea what the hell Microsoft are thinking on this issue, if they’re truly thinking at all. What difference does it make if a customer wants to transfer their DLC to a new machine more than once in 12 months? Maybe they’re afraid that people will use it to ‘swap’ DLC, but come on – it’s an all-or-nothing process so not really very useful for that in practice. This just seems to be a completely non-customer friendly, administrative nonsense, which given the failure rates on 360 and the fact that other people are going to want to do exactly what I want to do, just seems nonsensical. Way to encourage DLC purchases, guys – it’s exactly this kind of bullshit that makes people afraid of buying it compared to boxed product.
I was feeling pretty good about the data portability on 360 compared to what I considered was a dumb decision on PS3 not to allow swapping of hard drives, but it seems 360 has its share of dumb decisions on storage too. It appears that neither manufacturer has really got their head around giving the customer the freedom to control their own data, which in this case they have paid for and should be able to take it with them. For Christ sakes, Steam is miles better than this (locking content only to a Steam account, not a physical machine), and even so look how much bitching that originally provoked. Were the people making this DLC transfer policy asleep during that whole debate? It certainly seems so. Limiting the transfer of the customer’s own property would be a bad decision at the best of times, but in the light of the 360 failure rates it’s plain ridiculous.