Tagged… in the USA…

A year ago, in an uncharacteristic show of generosity, a close friend of mine loaned me his “spare” X-Box 360 indefinitely. Over looking how lucky I was to secure such a deal, this has lead to much annoyance on my part and I’ll tell you for why…

When logging on I found the American market place information, this seemed pretty cool, that was until I tried to buy anything and was given the message “not available in your current location”.

Some time later (when I couldn’t download the Duke Nukem 3D demo!?!), I decided this would no longer do. I went to the X-Box Live website to change my information and found I was able to change every detail apart from my country, which was greyed out and displayed as “United States of America”.

Brown's Broken British X-Box
Brown's Broken British X-Box

Pausing for thought, I figured this may be because my Gamertag information could be linked to my MS Passport, which in turn was populated by my Hotmail account. I vaguely remembered signing up for a US Hotmail account to get the .com address rather than the .co.uk, but that was in 1998 so memories are fuzzy. Acting on this hunch I went to check it out and change the country if I needed to, which would hopefully precipitate the change I required.

After changing my address from somewhere in Puerto Rico (yeah, I know) to England I checked back but nothing had changed. I tried further times and on several different areas, but no matter what I tried the country of my X-Box Live account never changed. Reluctantly I phoned their helpline and was reassured that many other people have experienced the same problem, usually when moving from one country to another for work or university. “Excellent” I said, “there must be a solution then”. “There is”, I was told, “just start a new Gamertag but put England in it this time…”.

Yeah, and that’s it. End of conversation. No more steps. Just bin your ‘tag and don’t use it again. No transferring of achievements or memberships, no process for keeping your MS Fun-buck$ or downloaded content (although this obviously didn’t apply to me), nope just start again from scratch.

Apparently it’s “Impossible” to change that entry on the database. Being a user of MS Access I can well believe that making anything do what you want it to on a Microsoft database can be unnecessarily hard but also being an IT Professional I know that “Impossible” is almost certainly untrue. As such I have decided to continue my quest to find a way around this.

To be continued…

4 thoughts on “Tagged… in the USA…

  1. HA! Of course Microsoft don’t use Access to stor this info. It’s all on InfoPoint73 (Aka Business Edge 2010) piped through Microsoft Spooge Server 3046(SP9) and displayed in Microsoft Perl 8 (Compatibility mode 7) on an IIS web page. The reason they can’t change it is becuase the database admin is on holiday; the kind of holiday where you’re festering corpse is found alone in a pool of blood at your apartment with plans for a simple business support structure stained by tears at your feet.


  2. mbooth

    but also being an IT Professional I know that “Impossible” is almost certainly untrue.

    Confessions of a Software Engineer…

    I was once sitting in on some meetings with some project management types at a customer’s site discussing bugs and feature requests for some bespoke proprietary product.

    The feature request under discussion was for the web front-end and there was a requirement to intercept certain control character key presses before IE6 swallowed them and pass them along to the SVG DOM provided by an end-of-life Adobe ActiveX plug-in. But the feature is not what’s important; it’s flavour text. It’ll suffice to say I told the customer this was flat out impossible and having spent weeks preparing for these meetings I was absolutely convinced of this. I have never more confidently made any assertion in my life.

    The next week I was chatting to one of my wiser, cleverer and more intelligent colleagues and he happened to mention he had a look at this requirement. The bastard had only gone and implemented it.

    As the koan[1] says, “at that moment the student was enlightened.” I have never since, nor will I ever again say that any software engineering task is impossible.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_koan


  3. Ado

    @mbooth – Indeed sir. It’s a word we should steer clear of. Much better to say “It would take a lot of work to do” or “I’m not sure that can be done in the time frame” etc… Make it their idea that it’s better not to do it, rather than telling them it can’t be done.

    In any case, the whole thing with Microsoft X-Box Live and now with their horrible Games For Windows has really got my goat on this front. Everyone knows it must be do-able in one way or another, they just seem to refuse to believe people move from country to country and that gamers actually get attached to their online persona. It basically shows how little Microsoft understand gamers, even after courting this market for so many years (after writing software for the Dreamcast)…


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