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Replacement Xbox 360s and Xbox Live Arcade Games

September 19, 2007

When you buy an Xbox Live Arcade game for your Xbox 360 it is linked both to (X) your Gamertag (actually the Xbox Live account associated with the Gamertag) and (Y) to the specific Xbox 360 it was purchased on. This means that anyone can play the game on the Xbox it was purchased on whether or not they are logged on to Xbox Live, and whether or not they are playing with the Gamertag that purchased the game. It also means that when you travel to a friend’s house and log in with your Gamertag, you can play any of the Xbox Live Arcade Games you have purchased. This is described by a member of the Xbox Development Team here.

This system breaks down, however, when the console on which the games were purchased needs to be replaced. Almost inevitably the broken console will be replaced with different hardware, meaning that you can no longer play Xbox Live Arcade games per scenario Y above. This phenomenon is discussed here (and elsewhere).

I had purchased all of my Xbox Live Arcade games on Xbox 360 in our media room specifically to take advantage of scenario Y. That Xbox 360 had to be replaced (red ring of death) and now that the replacement console can no longer play Xbox Live Arcade games I purchased on the console unless I am logged in.

I intend to take this up with Microsoft and see which of the many possible outcomes described in the link above they offer, e.g. points to repurchase games or "too bad."

I would think it would be technically feasible just to link the games to my new hardware, but maybe it is not worth the effort. Although with the high failure rate for 360s it may become worth their while.

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