If you've ever complained about Xbox Live here in Australia, spare a thought for our trans-Tasman neighbours. Last week, David over at Kotaku looked into a rumour that after the mid-June update to Xbox Live, some New Zealand gamers were unable to download content. Turns out that it's every NZ gamer with an under-18 account, and they can no longer even download a demo of a G-rated game while Microsoft tries to restrict access to mature content.
The entire situation is made even worse by the complete lack of transparency on Microsoft's behalf. After hitting them with a barrage of questions about the restrictions, they came back to Kotaku with this carefully worded comment:
* Microsoft has taken an initiative in New Zealand to ensure people under the age of 18 cannot access mature content. * We are working to limit access to content to the appropriate age group in New Zealand. This will take some time due to technical reasons. * We are working to remove the ability for people under the age of 18 to add points until we can resolve this issue. * People affected by this issue can be refunded via our customer call centre, which can be contacted through www.xbox.com/en-nz/support or on 0508 555 592.
Maybe it's just me, but there doesn't seem to be too much "initiative" involved in completely blacklisting every person with a child account on Xbox Live in an attempt to restrict mature content. In fact, it seems like a downright lazy attempt considering they're not just blocking mature content, but family-friendly content as well.
Head on over to Kotaku to read a full account of the issue and Microsoft's response. It's a pretty atrocious way to treat your customers, even if they are Kiwis...