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Online Consoles Follow-up

As a follow-up to some material covered in episode seven of our podcast, here are a couple quick bits of information and reading:

– At E3, Microsoft announced that they had one more title to bring over to “Xbox Originals”… and then it’s done. We can probably safely assume that no more software updates will be coming to the 360 to allow for additional disc-based backwards compatibility. (Link: IGN)

– Sony officially unveiled the PSP Go at E3 to no-one’s surprise. The UMD slot is indeed gone, and no official statement has been given with regards to how consumers with existing UMD-based games will be able to possibly transfer them to their new hardware. Current rumors involve kiosks set up at stores, or a trade-in program. Additionally, the PSP Go is completely incompatible with all existing PSP accessories (including mini-USB cables) due to a new multifuction port. (Link: Engadget)

– No “Portable Virtual Console” was announced by Nintendo for the DSi. Do you think it’s still coming?

– We didn’t get a chance to cover every single last thing about video game consoles and online connectivity, so if you’re up for a little more reading, CNet has covered a little bit more. While it’s not the best in terms of breadth of information covered or even straight-up writing style, you’ll probably find something of interest. I definitely need to do some kind of “Fond Memories…!” segment or something regarding Sega Channel (much to Andrew’s chagrin, I’m sure).

Xbox 360 License Transfer Issues – Resolved

That was a pretty easy fix. My Xbox 360 license transfer issues have been resolved, and it legitimately took nothing more than a simple phone call.

I received a follow-up voice message two days later, as promised, letting me know that the license transfer was still being worked on, but it would be resolved soon and to give them a call back if I had any questions. Later on that day, I received an e-mail letting me know that the transfer was complete. To fully resolve the outstanding issue, however, I would have to go through a manual re-downloading process of each and every individual item purchased while the hard drive was being used on the previous hardware. It was an easy process, if not time consuming. Your “Download History” in “Account Management” is painless to go through, so I sat with a drink and went through one-by-one re-“downloading” each item. I place “downloading” in quotes because the download immediately jumps from 0% or 1% all the way up to 100%, since it is only updating the license on the downloaded content, rather than fully re-acquiring said content.

After going through this process, all Rock Band DLC was accessible even when the ethernet cable was unplugged. Good job, Microsoft.

Now if only we didn’t have this pesky problem called “DRM” that made it impossible to use the things you thought you paid for but really only paid for a license to use at the sole discretion of the overlord company…

Xbox 360 License Transfer Issues

Hey. In the new house. Let’s blog, again.

So as you may have read on the site and heard on the podcast, I received a replacement Xbox 360 last September. I did not have a single problem since then (knock on wood). I went through all of their directions and re-downloaded items from my “Download History” if I needed them. All set to go.

Well, I just moved. The internet connection is up in the loft. To get on Xbox LIVE right now, I have to run a bazillion-foot ethernet cable down over the railing, across the living room, and into the 360 in the TV stand. I could buy a $100 wireless adapter, but that would be ridiculous (though I probably will do so using bonus points from my credit card so I don’t feel like I’m wasting real money). Needless to say, I don’t keep that cable running to-and-fro all the time.

The other day Jeff came over to help set up the new ION drum kit. Yes, it’s fantastic. We then attempted to play some Rock Band 2, and of course dived into some recent DLC. No problems there. Then we tried some older DLC… stuff I downloaded before I received my replacement console. Here’s what we got:


If you can’t read that (and for the sake of search-engine optimization), it reads:

The song data you were accessing has become unavailable, and the game cannot proceed without it. Your game session has restarted.

Since I’m moderately intelligent, I knew it was a license issue. A little Googling around brings up similar experiences, confirming that even deleting and re-downloading the individual song content does not re-license it to the new system hardware. What does this mean?

A call to Xbox customer support (800-4-MY-XBOX) was in order.

I ended up speaking with two very nice ladies (with very thick accents, and the second sounded like she was taking the call in a sports stadium full of people). Since I was able to explain the issue clearly and describe to them what the resolution should be, it went very smoothly. I will apparently receive a call back within 48 hours to update me on the resolution, as well as receive an e-mail when it is complete. All I had to do was provide my replacement console’s serial number and system ID a couple times, my gamertag, and e-mail address.

I’ll update again when it’s resolved. Hopefully this is an easy fix…!

Xbox Live Experience: Classic “TMNT” With Friends

Yesterday, our buddy Kevin coordinated a cross-country gaming date for the evening over Twitter. Myself, Andrew, Kevin, and our buddy Ryan all joined up for a little play-through of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles classic arcade game over Xbox Live (10:30 pm eastern time, 7:30 pm western time). Seems like an easy enough recipe for a good time, right?

Well, mostly!


What we quickly found ourselves doing instead of just playing the game was fighting with the Xbox Live service to simply allow all four of us to join up. We initially started with Kevin creating a “Party”, and then he invited the entire party to a private match in the game. No matter which order people joined in, who tried to set up a match next, inviting through the party system or one-by-one manually, we simply could not get all four of us into the same room. The fourth person would always get the “Game session is no longer available“-style message, even if they just got in on the previous try. We even all tried joining into a “quick match” together at the same time, and ended up with the same problem (only three of us able to join in, though it was a hilarious miracle and testament to the game’s play-drop-off that we all ended up in the same random quick match).

Around fifteen minutes into this epic struggle against Microsoft’s back-end, Kevin randomly suggested that we try signing off and back onto Xbox Live. Andrew and I did so, and we were magically able to all immediately connect to each other in-game. This proves that it had nothing to do with our ISPs, our firewalls, any port-forwarding in our routers, or any nonsense like that. It was nothing more than random nonsense on the Xbox Live side of things, and nonsense we typically only expect from the free PSN, as opposed to a service we pay ~$50 a year for (and therefore, rightfully so, expect a near-flawless experience with).

Once we got into the game, we sufferred little in the way of hiccups (with the exception of some minor lag problems on the “Come on guys, we gotta save Splinter!” stage). We managed to make it up to Krang, and while Kevin survived long enough to get him blinking, the rest of us succummed to his mighty kicks with the measely amount of lives we had left at that point. We all made a couple stupid mistakes, but now that we’ve played again… I fully believe we need to set up another session so we can not only complete the game for that achievement, but also make sure that Andrew doesn’t get himself flame-throwed in the face so we can all get that achivement, too!

Thank goodness I can disconnect!

So I had finished editing some stuff and wanted to burn it off to CD-R for transferring around. Don’t have Nero installed on this computer, and turns out I don’t really have anything installed over here for advanced burning.

OK, no problem. I’ll just go grab CDBurnerXP, since I don’t need anything all that special.

Whoops, don’t have the latest .NET Framework stuffage installed. OK, let’s go do that. Go ahead and download that first, and start getting it installed. It gets ready to finish up and presents me with the following:

PHEW. That’s a huge relief! I can finally disconnect from the Internet! I’ve been waiting for this day for years!

More “Rock Band” DLC Problems…?

So this morning I tried to download another one of those songs that I’ve been dying for and drowning in anticipation for: “Under the Bridge” by a certain band with Chili Peppers that may or may not be Red Hot.

Note that I’m not really the biggest RHCP fan in the world. In fact, I don’t really like them that much at all. Especially over the last few albums, I feel that it’s VERY much turned into a monotonous string of the same music over and over. Does that say something for Anthony’s getting clean? I dunno. But that’s not really what I’m here to talk about.

Under the Bridge” is one of those new-classic-rock songs, having been one of the most played songs of the early 1990s… and quite frankly, being amazing. I was still a kid/teen in the early 1990s, and so I have the same rememberings and fascination with the song that, perhaps, songs from bands like The Who and such are for an older generation.

Needless to say, I hopped right on Xbox LIVE this morning to grab the song. It’s not like I was going to have any time to play it before work, but it’s the principle of the matter… I like knowing it’s sitting there already on my hard drive, ready to play when I eventually get home (have a meeting with the DJ for our wedding after work today, so my playing is getting delayed even further :P).

Clicked to download. 1%. Ran off to cook breakfast. Came back. 1%. Raised an eyebrow. Sound effect and notice that it failed to keep a connection and I would have to re-download. Huh. Tried again. Same end result. Signed off and back on. All other internets working. Tried again. Same end result.

Here’s hoping we don’t have another Moving Pictures-style “technical difficulties” issue, and it’s all resolved by the time I get home tonight…

Anyone else have any issues? How about you PS3 rockers?

360 Woes: Update #5 (Final…?)

So my 360 is finally back. Insert huzzah upon huzzah here.

They tried delivering it on Tuesday to the future-in-laws’ place, but no-one was home, so right back on the truck for the next day it went. Thankfully, someone was going to be home all day the following day, and it was indeed scheduled for re-delivery the next day… so I basically refreshed the tracking page all day to make sure it got there on time. Of course, just like the last package I tracked, it didn’t show up as being delivered until half an hour after the fact… long enough for me to get an e-mail confirmation from “home” saying it was there before UPS could :P.

Opening up the box it came in (which was identical to what it went back for repairs in), there’s not a whole lot to speak of. System’s in there, papers in there, card for a month of Xbox LIVE, etc.

I didn’t do my analysis as well as I should have. I’m basically blind. I wanted to know if the system was a replacement unit or if they actually repaired it. If I actually read the papers that came with it, I would have immediately seen that it was indeed a replacement unit. The instructions also give you the process on how to “re-license” all of your Xbox LIVE downloads (more on that in a second).

What should have tipped me off was an entirely new console serial number. Of course, that’s not something you immediately look for… Or is it…?

I’m not quite sure what this says about the problem I had (initially detailed back here). Does the problem go so deep that they’d rather just give me a whole new system? I guess so. I really think someone should make a site all about the green splotchies problem. I wish I had the initiative to do so. You, over there. Yeah, you. Get right on that.

I couldn’t just crack open Rock Band 2 and play, though. Nooooo, sir. Since it was a whole new system, and Xbox LIVE content is tied to the hardware (in addition to the gamer-card/name), what you have to do is re-license the content for the new hardware. This means you go to your “Download History” and click “Redownload”… on every single last one. Every. Single. Last. One. OK, so you don’t have to do it on demos if you don’t really want those anymore, but for things like actual XBLA games and add-on content that you would like to be able to access either offline or by other users (gamer-cards/names) on the console, you absolutely have to do it.

For material that’s sitting there on the hard-drive, it doesn’t actually re-download it. What it appears to do is check and see if that content’s there, and if it is indeed there, just re-apply the new license to it (the download will hit 1% and then just be done, regardless of the file size). If there has been an update to said content (for example, I think one of the Police songs/packs I had downloaded had a fix applied to it), it actually will indeed re-download the whole thing again (presumably replacing it on the hard-drive, rather than downloading a duplicate).

So I basically went through that process for all my Rock Band downloads (which is… uhh… a lot), and then all my XBLA games (which aren’t a lot, but enough to be obnoxious).

I then moved on to doing the whole Rock Band export thingie from the first game, which lets you play all (well, 55 of the 58) songs from the first game right in the second game. That took a while, so I ironed some shirts for work while it did its thing.

Then I downloaded a whole bunch of songs I’ve missed in the meantime, which ate up some more time (still ironed shirts).

By the time I was ready to finally use my (new) system, it was 10:30 pm, and I had to get my rear end to bed for work the next day. Played through “Hands Down” on expert guitar one time through, mostly just to say “nyah-nyah!” to the console.

So the big guy is back. I wonder if I’ll ever actually get back to DragonBall Z: Burst Limit, or if it’s just a lost cause. If I’m going to play a fighting game, I’m going to pop Soul Calibur IV over in the PS3. Regardless, it’s wonderful to have it home.

Hopefully it won’t die one week after my one-year warranty, again, with a problem Microsoft refuses to publicly acknowledge and fess up to. Grar.

360 Woes: Update #4

Holy crap! I checked early this afternoon, and Microsoft’s customer service / repair site said they hadn’t even received my console yet. Log in tonight, and what do I see? Completely skipped step #3 (“Device received at service center”), and went right to step #4 (“Device shipped to customer”).

This is either a wonderful or a terrible thing.

Heading down to Atlanta for AWA tomorrow. Check you funky people there… uhh… if you’ll be there.

360 Woes: Update #3

Before I get into the meat of this post, please note that when episode three of the podcast first went up, it accidentally had a random 10 seconds of silence before we read e-mails. It was corrected and reuploaded within half-an-hour of its initial posting, so in case you’re looking for a fixed version… it’s up there, now.

So last week I (finally) received the empty box to send back my 360 for repairs (read here and here for more info). In case you haven’t (yet) gone through the process of needing to send back your system, I figured I’d document my own and allow you to live vicariously through me. Don’t get cocky, though… if you have a 360, you’ll eventually be sending it back for one reason or another…!

The box it comes in is a rather plain, white, standard ol’ box. I actually wasn’t even sure it was the right box. I don’t know what I was expecting… I guess something that would hold a lot more cushioning…?

Xbox 360 Repair Box Picture 1

When you open it up, you get some pretty dummy-proof instructions, a plastic bag to put the system into, a styrofoam holder for the console, a return label to place over top of the one that was used to ship it to you, and a piece of packing tape to seal the box back up with. I should point out that customer service explicitly told me to tape a piece of paper with my name, address, and repair number to the system itself, while the included instructions made absolutely no mention of this.

Xbox 360 Repair Box Picture 2

Again, I was rather unsure about the contents, since the box was so small. I was honestly shocked to see that I was going to pack up such a clearly-volatile system with just these little foam inserts. No additional packing-peanuts, or anything like that. Huh.

Xbox 360 Repair Box Picture 3

When it’s all packed up, it is indeed rather snug. I can’t see this compensating for UPS guys tossing boxes around, though, and being that I’m actually PAYING for my repair (no red rings for lucky ol’ me!), I was hoping for something like… oh, I dunno… better packing to keep the system from falling apart to and fro.

Xbox 360 Repair Box Picture 4

Sent my system back last Thursday, and according to the customer service area of, they still have not received it. Grr. I knew that if I was going to have system problems, it would be during the release of a game I’m dying to play (Rock Band 2).

In conclusion, Tara was very upset that she was late to the recording session. She was all prepared, and everything. Unfortunately, it was complete, and we were no longer accepting recorded material for the show.

Tara wants to record a podcast

Better luck next time, babe.

360 Woes: Update #2

So while I was picking Jeff up at the train station today, I received a voice message from “Joe” at Xbox customer support telling me that there was a problem with getting the box out to me, and that I would need to call them back to iron out these difficulties. Being that it’s been a whole week without the box showing up, I was more than happy to figure out what was going on.

Before I go any further, please know that I’m not trying to be a discriminatory asshat. I just kinda like it when I can understand what the bloody Hell these people are trying to say to me or ask of me.

The first guy I got was more or less incomprehensible, but after giving him my status number out of desperation for some type of common communication, he transferred me over to a supervisor for some reason or another. I believe this guy’s name was “Devon” (probably wrong on that), but I have to say… he was completely friendly, laid back, and an all-around nice guy. And he spoke English properly, so that was a plus. While we sorted things out we talked about our upcoming weddings, honeymoon plans, etc. Good times.

Turns out UPS couldn’t understand our address. Yes, you just read that properly. In all fairness, we don’t have what appears to be a normal “street address”, but it’s an actual address none-the-less that every other mail-delivery-system (USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.) can seem to handle. I switched over the shipping info to the future in-laws’ place, and that should take care of things for now.

I just want my damn system back in time for Rock Band 2

Probably going to record episode three of the podcast next week…!

Wait, wait… screw all that! Super Mario RPG is out on the American Virtual Console, now! Time to clean out the fridge, again…!

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