Debate about the implementation of the stimulus package rages on. But this time it’s not the US government, but rather Microsoft, which is the subject.
The situation involves the first major downloadable content to the hugely successful Modern Warfare 2, marketed as the Stimulus Package and released on the Xbox 360 yesterday. (It’s set to appear on the PS3 on 30 April.)
Making a simple logistical error in the game can lead to your character meeting a violent and explosive fate. Doing the same in issuing the update didn’t lead to bloodshed, it did cause what the company described as “a big hairball that we had to unwind.”
The mistake was that Microsoft released the new content — a new batch of locations for battle — before an update which made the game aware that the new locations existed. The resulting confusion within the game not only meant players couldn’t access the new locations, but there were widespread problems with setting up online games.
That problem has now been fixed and the update applied. However, there were some ongoing problems for players who wanted to pay for the download with Point of Sale Activation cards (effectively vouchers bought in retail stores). The new content meant many more people than usual wanted to redeem the cards on the same day, causing a logjam on the Microsoft system.
A Microsoft blog post notes: ” You haven’t done anything wrong, you won’t lose your money, and you don’t need to go back to the store – just hang in there and try again in a few hours.”
One interesting note from the blog post is that while there was an explanation of the various problems, there was no specific apology, a point commenters were quick to pick up on.
There has also been criticism of the content itself as it appears that the game mode used each time a new location is played is chosen randomly rather than selected by the player, a point which doesn’t appear to have been made clear in promotion of the content.