Getting Furious, Fast : the emptying Marketplace

wp7-marketplace-404

wp7-marketplace-404

wp7-marketplace-404

Think you own your Marketplace apps? Think again.

It’s an issue which crops up every so often: when we pay for all sorts of media – books, albums, films, games – we aren’t actually purchasing the media itself. Rather, we are paying for a license – a license to read, listen to, watch or play said media, to enjoy its benefits for as long as the rights holder allows us. It’s because of this that, for example, you have to pay more for a film license that will allow you to show it to a large audience, or to rent it out.

This means little to the average consumer. There’s been the occasional mild furore about whether consumers are allowed to copy or backup their media for their own benefit – a brief period when certain record companies tried to stop people ripping their CDs to hard-drive is notable – but in practice little was actually done about it. The issue of sharing music, of course, is another matter entirely.

But that’s not the issue we’re now facing. The limitations of users’ licenses have started to chafe with the onset of digital distribution, and Windows Phone users are getting their first taste of that. This week, several games were removed from the Marketplace due to the developers’ licenses running out. Those games were I-Play’s Fast and Furious: Adrenaline, and THQ’s Star Wars titles Battle for Hoth and Cantina. Straightforward enough – I-Play and THQ no longer hold the rights to distribute Fast and Furious or Star Wars titles on Windows Phone, so they’ve been removed from sale. And if that’s all there was to it, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Unfortunately, that isn’t all that happened. As a result of the games being removed from the Marketplace, people who’d paid for them previously discovered that they could no longer reinstall the games: should the games be removed from their phone for any reason – whether by uninstalling them, or having to subject the phone to a hard reset – then they would not be able to play them ever again.

The thing is, this is hardly the first time a digital distribution service has had to remove titles from sale. Numerous games have been removed from the App Store for similar reasons; major PC services like Steam and GOG.com have had the same; even Amazon’s Kindle store has had books removed from sale due to rights issues. The problem comes in the way that Microsoft have dealt with the issue – or rather, the way that they haven’t.

Steam and GOG.com have had the most consumer-friendly response to these problems: they’ve removed games from sale when the rights were lost, but kept the files on their servers for anyone who had already purchased the license, allowing players to download at their leisure. They also allow their users to backup any games they own at will, to ensure that even if the entire service were to fail, their games would still be there.

Amazon went to the opposite extreme: following the removal of books from their service, they actively removed them from people’s Kindles. This caused quite a commotion, with many people justifiably angry at the removal of the title from their devices, but at least Amazon immediately refunded every person affected.

Apple’s approach has been closest to Microsoft’s, with removed applications no longer available for purchase or download. However, there is one significant difference between Apple’s and Microsoft’s platforms: backups. When applications are downloaded through iTunes, they are automatically saved to the computer they were downloaded on, allowing the user to reinstall them at will without needing to download them again. More than that, with Apple’s iCloud allowing people to back their applications up online whether they’re for sale any more or not. In other words, user intervention is required, but an iOS user can back up their applications at any time, either to their own computer or to an online cloud, and know they will always be available.

By contrast, Microsoft have no such systems in place. Unlike Steam and GOG.com, when items are removed from sale, they are no longer downloadable by anyone. Unlike Amazon, blanket refunds are not offered to purchasers when titles are removed from the Marketplace. And unlike Apple, users are not given the opportunity to backup individual applications to any device, so if a title is removed from download, users can never reacquire them.

This is, quite simply, unacceptable. Consumers who have purchased a title rightly expect to be able to access their content at will. That Microsoft offers no protection, not even the option to backup your purchases, and hasn’t even issued refunds to all those affected, shows a massive lack of judgement on their part. Steps must be taken to ensure that users have some sort of protection against this in future, lest they lose confidence in the Marketplace.

The ball’s in your court, Microsoft. Don’t let us down.


Marketplace Download
AUTHOR
I've been gaming since I first played Chess on the Amstrad PCW, and have never looked back. The advent of smartphones has given rise to an exciting new world of possibilities for gaming, and I've been particularly enamoured with Windows Phone 7 thanks to its integration with Xbox Live, and the minimum specifications Microsoft had for the handsets meaning that all of them are capable gaming devices. Also, because the OS is just so damned sexy. When I'm not playing or reviewing games, I have a variety of other interests and hobbies, not least ancient literature and history, subjects in which I hold both a bachelor and master of arts; so if you've any questions about which of the ancient Greek novels is the best,* you know who to ask! *Lucian's True History
  • http://social.thematesrates.com/blogs/1352/1384/be-a-part-of-message-boards-when binary options trading

    Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are
    you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  • http://doc.coordinadora.org/wiki/index.php?title=Ron_Paul_And_Binary_Solutions binary options strategy

    I’d like to find out more? I’d love to find out some additional information.

  • http://www.samicollection.org/binary-option-strategy-the-most-common-mistakes-you-should-avoid.html trading binary options

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t
    wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .

    . Anyways, awesome site!

  • http://toycertification.org/215-how-to-correctly-trade-binary-option.html Judy

    This info is invaluable. Where can I find out more?

  • http://ww bendik

    Are tempel run game coming to Nokia lumia 800

  • Pingback: IonBall EX : xBox Live Windows Phone Game Review

  • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

    I just called customer support on 08005871102 in UK and explained that i had purchased the game on 6th August, and had to format my handset, no longer able to re-install.
     
    I was given a ticket number and await a decision.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

      I received a call today with resolution… they offered me 800mp as compensation….

      I advised that I was not able to purchase phone content using mp, and
      that I could only use it on my Xbox360, to which they advised there is a
      team working on its introduction in the near future.

      So to anyone that has purchased Fast & Furious Adrenaline I suggest you
      contact Xbox Customer Support in your country and tell them you are no
      longer able to re-install the game following a handset reset and hope
      they are able to either offer compensatory points, or refund where
      applicable.

      I hope this info helps someone ;)

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

      I received a call today with resolution… they offered me 800mp as compensation….

      I advised that I was not able to purchase phone content using mp, and
      that I could only use it on my Xbox360, to which they advised there is a
      team working on its introduction in the near future.

      So to anyone that has purchased Fast & Furious Adrenaline I suggest you
      contact Xbox Customer Support in your country and tell them you are no
      longer able to re-install the game following a handset reset and hope
      they are able to either offer compensatory points, or refund where
      applicable.

      I hope this info helps someone ;)

      • Yann Best

        A shame they can’t offer a direct refund (or, indeed, replacement), but at least they gave you something. I hope they do bring the option to use Microsoft points for Windows Phone apps in future – it’d make a lot of sense, after all.

      • http://www.bestwp7games.com/ Saijo George

        Thanks for letting us know mate

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

      I received a call today with resolution… they offered me 800mp as compensation….

      I advised that I was not able to purchase phone content using mp, and
      that I could only use it on my Xbox360, to which they advised there is a
      team working on its introduction in the near future.

      So to anyone that has purchased Fast & Furious Adrenaline I suggest you
      contact Xbox Customer Support in your country and tell them you are no
      longer able to re-install the game following a handset reset and hope
      they are able to either offer compensatory points, or refund where
      applicable.

      I hope this info helps someone ;)

  • Anonymous

    I recommend you see here! Perhaps you can find what you want!   http://url.ie/cvjx

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

       spam link. reported post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

       spam link. reported post.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bAN01TgAZ Bandit Gaz

       spam link. reported post.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t worry. It’s just part of their naive and zero-communication attitude. It’s just that they don’t get it, and never will. They will never be able to understand the customer like other companies can

  • Confused Gamer

    All the more reason to get an new iPhone when my contract runs out. I really like the new update but I play a lot of games on the phone and games on windows phone 7 are crap when compared to the iPhone and they are more expensive too !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Xbox Rulez

      does iPhone give you achievements ? can you play your xbox games and share the content between your iphone and console ? I rest my case 

      • vzsg

        “does iPhone give you achievements ? ”
        Yes.

        “can you play your xbox games and share the content between your iphone and console ?”
        No, but who gives a crap?

        • Xbox Rulez

          You are kidding right .. who gives a crap about share the content between your phone and console ???? Oh I  know…. everyone but you, that is who..

          • Jon Vano

            dont forget, wp7 shares services between pc, xbox, the handset, and facebook. After all, WP7 is the most facebook friendly phone in the world. and is also the most xbox live friendly phone in world. And nothing feels better than streaming any song to my phone at no extra charge (zune pass)

  • FIFA King

    I didn’t know they were deleted . Will all games be deleted after a certain time ?

    • Yann Best

      Hopefully not – the only reasons that games should be removed would be in cases like this, where a license to a property has run out, which is only an issue for games which use licenses not owned by their parent company, or where applications are found to breach the terms of service in some way. Hopefully, Microsoft will implement some kind of system to stop purchasers of said games being penalised in future, but that remains to be seen.

      • Jon Vano

        i agree. there needs to be some sort of user protection. after the liscense runs out, all owners should be able to keep their game, just make it unsupported.

  • Anonymous

    very well said!
    this is something the consumer is not directly aware of since no agreement is settled between windows phone handlers and microsoft…

    http://bit.ly/qKnhpt