About a month ago, my 360 died with the Ring of Death, so I took it back to Best Buy using their Product Replacement Plan. I chose to upgrade to a 360 Elite for the bigger hard drive. Get home, transfer some save games off a memory card, load up all my downloaded content, load up the household profile, and it looks like I'm good to go.
But then... I load up Puzzle Quest, and I have to activate it everytime I try to play. It's not a problem, since it still recognizes me as the owner of the product, but it's still awkward. But then, I loaded it up under my son's account, and he can only play it as a trial version. Now, that really sucks, since he was almost done when the console died :(
I looked online, and found this is a common problem. The downloads are tied to the console and the gamer tag. If the console changes, only the gamertag that purchased them is able to continue playing them.
So I called up 1-800-4MY-XBOX, and explained the problem. The rep said he could help, got a list of my games, and spoke with his supervisor. Turns out, that after a 1/2 hour on the phone, they can't help me because it's not the same unit type!
So here I am, Shiny new 360 unit, and nobody in the house can play any of the casual games except me! And given the issues with all the failures, and the potential for the life-cycle of the 360 to go well beyond 5 years it seems like there should be a better way to handle marketplace downloads and longevity.
Since you can transfer a gamertag through the "Recover My Gamertag" function, and that disables the tag on the previous console, it seems like it would be easy to update the download information to tie to the new console. When the old console connects to Live, just update to change those to trial versions. (I could imagine that someone could use the system offline forever, but they won't be able to connect to live for other games, so it would really end up being a minimal impact) Either that, or send me a disc with all my downloads that I can throw in the play my arcade games!!!
DRM really needs to be resolved if there is any thought of long-term viability of digital downloads. I like the concept, but I also like the thought that I can fall back to physical medium on those games I purchased that way.
(As an ironic aside, I'm not using HDMI to connect the 360, I'm using a VGA cable. The HDMI cable went to the Tivo since that only needs one cable to carry the HD single to the TV, not the two required by the 360)
Maybe someone will come up with a better way to handle this, and let my son play Puzzle Quest without having to repurchase it. And fix the bug where *I* have to log in every time.
Ok, done ranting.