Xbox 360 repair breaks downloaded content

January 13, 2008

windowslivewriterfaultymicrosoftxbox360sfloodukmarket-de42smashxbox5 It’s almost a forgone conclusion that if you don’t have one of the new Xbox 360s chances are good that, at some point, you will get a “red ring of death” and have to send it in for repair.  If you do, chances are also good, all your downloaded content will no longer work thanks to Microsoft’s DRM.

One Xbox 360 owner has written all about his experience on his blog.  The Xbox 360 red ringed and was sent in for repair, after it was returned, all the downloaded content was broken and would not play.

He had spent almost $200 on the Xbox marketplace for Arcade games and game add-ons.  Microsoft support has also been no help in resolving the issue, either they don’t know how or simply don’t want to put the time into it.

I don’t see the point of having such pervasive DRM in Xbox 360 purchases as they will only run on the Xbox 360 and retrieving the files to share can be done but it isn’t easy.  Most users just want to play their games and use the download content, I’m sure an intrepid few would find a way to share the content but that’s far too much work for most.

It’s a bad situation and it’s made even worse by DRM that works almost like it does in Vista, change the hardware and the content is no longer valid.  Or, at least that’s what I assume is going on as Microsoft could use any number of methods to fix the red ring of death issue.

It doesn’t appear that there is any easy fix for this but maybe Microsoft could make some kind of “backup utility” for the Xbox 360 to help prevent this sort of thing from happening to others.  I know that will never happen and even if it did, the program would cost extra.

26 Responses to “Xbox 360 repair breaks downloaded content”

  1. Tonton:

    Sigh, just more reasons for me to never buy a Xbox360…

  2. Chexd:

    er just re-download and sign in when wanting to play. Not the OMFG XBOX BROKEN situation you claim.

  3. customer:

    no offense but 360 isn’t a very good system that much cuz it just has way too many issues with the system, just get a ps3 instead, that has no problems at all, way better than the 360 cuz it’s gettin good games right now in the following months.

  4. Chexd:

    er what?

    Just re-download and sign into live. This is nothing new and has always been a problem. Not quite OMFG XBOX BROKE.

    Its an annoyance but can be solved.

    Way to generate hits on a failing website.

  5. Marc Simard:

    The DLC still works you just HAVE to be connected to Xbox Live for it to work.

  6. Blankvoid:

    This has been a problem for a while. Many friends i know over live have called up Xbox support, and after demanding repayment, they have had their MS points returned, so that they could re-purchase their games from XBLA, making them valid on the refurbished console.

  7. Bigfella:

    What an uneducated piece of jibberish! If you’re going to publish a negative story on the 360, at least make sure you have your facts right.

    And regarding your ‘foregone conclusion’ that everyone with an old 360 will get the red rings, I have had mine for 1.5 years, average about 2.5 – 3 hours of use a day, and it works fine.

  8. Smarter than u:

    He has to log in to xbox live to be able to play it.

  9. DJ:

    My friend got a replacement 360 from Best Buy and MS told him he couldn’t have his DLC. They said it was a violation of copyright law because he now owns a different product.

  10. Peter:

    Sounds strange.

    Firstly you need to be signed on/on line to play the full version of any game.

    Secondly, you can delete the content, and download it again. Yes, it will be free.

    By the way, the reason you can download movies is because of the DRM protection. It isn’t microsoft, but the content owners who are the drivers behind DRM.

  11. cherdman:

    This site is 3 for 3 these past couple of days. All you have to do is re-download the content. Once you purchase something then it’s yours forever, you just have to be smart enough to know that you need to re-download the content.

    This is the worst video game blog on the net. Hands down.

  12. Howler9443:

    Re-downloading and connecting to XBL works great when there isn’t some sort of outage.

    I am on my fourth 360, and when XBL went down, I was basically stranded. I could not play Oblivion because I had a LOT of DLC that was purchased on one of the prior consoles, I could not play any XBLA games, because they too were purchased on one of the older and broken 360s.

    This is a HUGE problem to me and MS needs to come up with a viable solution. I don’t want to rip off games, I’ll gladly play for top notch stuff and have done so. But I absolutely REFUSE to purchase ANYTHING else from XBL until this matter is resolved.

  13. Brandon:



  14. Jay:

    Personally, I’m happy that more and more people are becoming vocal about this situation. I’ve been complaining about Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade DRM for quite some time now….

    April 27 (2007) -
    “Downloadable Content Abstinence”!A5557A058F6EA78B!1475.entry

    August 17 (2007) –
    “Microsoft Continues to Screw Loyal Gamers”!A5557A058F6EA78B!1729.entry

    August 27 (2007) -
    “Still in search of answers…” (follow up)!A5557A058F6EA78B!1763.entry

    September 07 (2007) –
    “Microsoft Claims CORE / PRO / ELITE Migration Incompatibility.”!A5557A058F6EA78B!1772.entry

    Even GameSpot wrote about it…
    “Lack of data transfer cable, XBLA game and video content DRM turn has turned some early buyers of Microsoft’s tricked-out console into vocal critics; Microsoft now offering data-transfer accessory gratis.”

  15. billytech:

    Jesus you people are so hot under the collar…If you dent your console out for repair and want to be able to watch your “Purchased” content….Delete it from your hard drive, which is linked to your original console. You can redownload it for free, and it will play just as it did before. Once you purchase a TV program from XBox live – You own the rights to it. You have to download it to your existing console under your gamertag to have the “pre-existing” rights to watch it….no problem. This has nothing to do with Microsoft, it has to do with the written agreements they have with the program providers to protect their content.

  16. marX:

    All you have to do is redownload it, I had the same issue, it was an easy fix. Maybe the person with the problem should’ve tried google searching instead of taking all his time to write an article.
    In his defense MS call line is worthless, when I called them about the issue they had no idea what I was talking about, google is your friend.

  17. Phlegmflinger:

    This site just gets worse…

    One glance through the “headlines” (if you can call them that) and it’s obvious which way the authors swing.

    “Xbox bad!”
    “PS3 good!”

    …real subtle.


  18. quikbit:

    i have this problem kinda. after i got my 360 back, the only time my dlc works is when im connected to xbox live. if im not connected, i cant use my dlc

  19. Rug:

    quikbit, go to Marketplace blade, go to Account Management, Download History and re-download your arcade games. Done. This has been mentioned about 20 times above.

    I think the point of the blog (a stretch here) is to point out that the hired goons at 800-4-my-xbox are clowns. They are not Microsoft, fyi, they are a hired company. But this should be a common enough situation that they should have a script for this.

    And PS3 may = Good, but Xbox 360 = Excellent.

    I have owned just about every console, this is the first time I have more great titles to play thanI have time to play them.

    Plus, you have integrated chat(text, voice and video) through ALL games, custom music playlists off central server / ipod / zune for ALL games, that doesn’t stop playing btw as you switch between different games. Plus a Media Center Extender functionality built in.

    Is it perfect? No. Is it better than the PS3? Yes.

  20. slash5:

    Same problem here – DLC is associated with your hardware ID. When your 360 is replaced you now have new hardware and when you re-download your games only the gamertag that purchased those games can play them…….. no one else that has a gamertag on that xbox 360 can play the purchased games. Microsoft did this to keep people from using their gamertag on other’s xbox 360 and downloading them a free copy of the purchased game….. This is fine unless you have your xbox replaced by microsoft……. On my first replacement i called support for 3 months before I received credits so I could re-purchase my games. I’m now on my 3rd xbox and so far have been unsuccessful in getting my credits for this box….

  21. Lawson:

    it’s not so simple to “just sign in to xbox live” for some people, i live out in the country and have limited access to high-speed, im glad i bought an elite, but my rother bought one their first week, and of course a red ring later, he has no access to DLC

  22. John:

    I just got off the phone with customer support about this same issue: I had a full arcade game purchased and downloaded on my Xbox, which was sent in for repair. When I received my refurbished Xbox back, all my full arcade games still worked as full games, except for one. After working patiently for an hour and twenty minutes with customer support, I was told that this problem is able to be solved and basically they are just going to give “Upper Management” the information I provided them over the phone and they will be resetting my licensing information for that game. I was told that I will receive a phone call within 30 days telling me that the game is available for me to download again with the appropriate full game rights.

  23. john:

    So does this mean that if i have DLC on my hard drive and then i take my hard drive to my buddy’s house and put it on his xbox, the DLC won’t work?

    i have rock band he does not. i wanted to go to his house and play. the DLC did not work. that really sucks. i guess i have to take my entire xbox to play the saved content????

  24. matthew Osterhaus:

    The way Xbox and Xbox Live handle digital rights management is broken, and needs to be fixed. What follows is my adventure into the world of Xbox support. It highlights how Microsoft and Xbox are abusing digital rights management, thus treating all of their customers like criminals, instead of the loyal and supportive video game fans and consumers that they are.

    My Xbox 360 broke. Hours before a party I was about to have, the DVD drive stopped reading disks. The terrible noise coming from the drive told me that I was lucky to get my Rock Band disk back. Since the party I was about to have was based around Rock Band, I decided that I would run to the store, grab an Xbox Arcade box, which lucky for me they had, slap my hard drive in to it and be ready to rock.

    Imagine my surprise when I fire up the Xbox and none of my downloaded content is available.

    My set up isn’t the best, because my DSL modem is in another room, so my Xbox is offline most of the time. As a result of this I don’t connect to Live much. When I do I have to drag a super long piece of Ethernet cable across the house. (My wife hates this.)

    I figured that the problem might be simply that I needed to recover my Xbox Live account to the new machine. I had assumed that this would restore my rights to the content. So I drug my Ethernet cable over to the DSL connection in the other room, logged into Live and recovered my profile.

    No luck. I still did not have access to my content. I tried re-downloading the Rock Band Tracks. This also did not work. I had access to my content when I was connected to Live, but once I disconnected, my downloaded games became crippled demo versions, and I had no access to any of my gamer pics, Rock Band songs, or anything else.

    I figured that this had something to do with DRM. So I called Xbox Live support. I figured that, like with most software, it would be a simple task to get the products that I paid for re-licensed to use on the new Xbox. This is not the case.

    I’m going to spare you the details of the two hours I spent on the phone with Live Support. I was given a case number (1061625022) by someone who would only identify himself as “Harry R.” who said he was the “highest person in Xbox Live Support.”. I was told that Microsoft would not allow me to transfer my content to my new Xbox, and that if I wanted to have access to it I would have to create another Live account and pay for the content again.

    I was told that they “may” transfer my content over to a new Xbox, as long as I sent the old Xbox in for Warrantee replacement. Once they fixed it and sent it back, It would be the same Xbox so I “may” be granted credit for my content.

    I have a huge problem with this. The first, is that I already paid for the content. So I’m not about to buy it again. The second is that I still have 6 months left on my Gold Membership, so If I wanted to play on line, the new account I created would have to have a gold membership as well. My old account wouldn’t have access to my new account’s downloads. I’m not concerned about my gamer-score, or changing my gamer-tag.

    Also, what if the damage to my Xbox were not covered by Warrantee? That would mean that sending my Xbox in for replacement would be useless. Not only would I have to suck it up and buy a new Xbox, but I would have to buy my collection of Live games all over again.

    I can not think of another company that manages digital rights in this manner. If I buy a piece of software from Nero and my computer dies. It is a relatively trivial task in getting that software’s license updated for the new computer. In most cases I do not even have to make phone call.

    Xbox Live’s policy does protect the software company’s products from theft but, in doing this it also dose something else. It alienates their loyal customers by treating them like thieves. A policy like this tell the consumer that there right to enjoy a product for which they have paid is less important then the possibility that Microsoft might loose some money to digital theft.

    This is the wrong way to treat a customer. DRM can, has been, and is being managed by other companies in a way that protects the publisher and at the same time treats the consumer with respect. My right to use a piece of software that I bought should not be infringed upon because a company is afraid of theft.

    I’m curious to know how Sony or Nintendo handle this. My feeling is that there DRM policies are much better. Microsoft is pretty full of itself if it things that people are going to stand for this for very long if there are other options available. I love Xbox and the Live service, but not enough to be treated like a criminal. At the end of the day, it is a product. A product that I could get from another vendor. Hopefully, one that treats me like a customer and not a criminal.

  25. matthew Osterhaus:

    Also, you can also hurt yourself in another way.

    Bring your profile to a friends house on a memory card, so you can play as you on his Xbox. Sign into Live under your profile, and download some game or gamer-pic or whatever onto your memory card.

    Take that card home to your own Xbox and you will not be able to use it unless you are connected to Xbox Live. Disconnect from Live and you will not be able to use it. This is because DRM ties the content to the Xbox it was originally downloaded on.

    No amount of re-downloading will help you now. And since it shows up as already purchased in the Live Marketplace, you can not even buy it again.

    Yea Microsoft, for building a DRM system that doesn’t work.

  26. Terra:

    Apparently, from the reading I’ve done, this is a known issue. I just wish there was an answer. Here’s our situation and why it sucks and why I’m not just being a “pussy” or a “whiner”

    Boyfriend and I live together. Boyfriend buys 360. I love arcade games, so boyfriend buys a bunch for me. He plays them too, but I really get more play from them. (I’m not into shooters-more into puzzle type games.) The only real disc game I’ve ever played on the Xbox is Overlord. Xbox dies recently. After a shitty amount of time, we finally get Xbox back. Boyfriend did NOT leave the HD in the Xbox-he’s way smarter than that. When we plug in “fixed” Xbox, only he can play all the games he downloaded for US-even though I’m the one who played them the most. All the games come up as trial versions for me-even though it shows my game achievements. We have about 10+ games that I can no longer play and probably 9 of those, boyfriend never plays. So, my only options now are to either not play at all or play on boyfriend’s gamertag.

    One last note: Wii broke down at exact same time as Xbox. (Don’t get excited, it was just a coincidence.) Nintendo not only fixed Wii for no charge (had to pay $100 for Xbox, even though we had Wii longer) and Wii was returned to us in a week flat. The one game that we downloaded from Wii still works fine and both our points were saved in the game perfectly.

    Look, I LOVED the Xbox until it died on us. (known issue-very obviously a manufacturing defect.) but now I’m pissed that I can’t play Zuma, Puzzle Quest, Luxor, Boom Boom Rockets or any of the other games that we paid good money for. All in all, it’s a load of bullshit.

    If anyone has an actual fix for this problem, please hit me up at my blog. If you are writing to tell me I should quit whining, don’t bother. What if you couldn’t play Vegas or GOW on your Xbox after it died? Wouldn’t you be pissed?

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