Additional Headaches from the Xbox Live DRM - XBL Downtime

Last week, I posted a couple items on the continuing saga of trying to get our Xbox Live Arcade content working as it did before our console went out for repair. The major issue is that the defective console was exchanged for a working console, but the new one obviously has a new serial number (console ID). Content downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace is tied to this ID, so our use is restricted on the new console. And has been for seven weeks now.

My previous rants on this focused on the fact that the profiles for my wife and daughter aren't able to play the many games that we purchased. When they go to those games, they're stuck in "trial" mode despite the fact that we've paid for them and they've got saved games, achievements, and so on.

An additional side-effect that I didn't mention is that MY profile (the one that purchased the games) can only play those games when I'm signed into Xbox Live. Normally, this wouldn't be such a problem since my profile logs into XBL automatically when I sign in.

This week, however, the Xbox Live service has had some serious stability issues. Many sites have reported the state of the service as it goes up for a while, goes back down, or is otherwise stuck in a gray area of "intermittent issues". Those issues continue even now as I write this (the screenshot above is about a minute old).

So not only can my wife and daughter not play these games via their profile, but now nobody in our house can play them at all -- using any profile.

I really don't understand how hosed up the back-end of the Xbox Live service must be that re-associating purchased content with a new console ID would take more than SEVEN WEEKS. Especially given that this is something that has to be done not only for the thousands of consoles being exchanged during repair work, but also for customers who would like to upgrade to an Xbox Elite. Retailers should have a bright orange sticker on the front of Xbox Elite boxes warning that any previously-purchased content will be unavailable for an undetermined, but non-trivial, period of time.

The whole experience has left a really bad taste in my mouth when it comes to the Xbox 360. I enjoy the console and have had a lot of fun. But at this point, turning it on just reminds me of the frustration that I don't have everything I've paid for.

I also mentioned last week that Xbox Live's public face, Major Nelson, posted in the support forums that anyone having these DRM licensing issues with an exchanged console should contact him. So I did. No response. He has put up a post acknowledging the downtime, though.