Halo 4 Bonus Downloadable Content Says It Works One Way, Actually Works Another

Image courtesy of (Alan Rappa)

With Misty’s order for the Halo 4 Xbox console and a limited edition of the new game, she got a bunch of codes for downloadable content to be used inside the game. In previous editions, some of that kind of content was available to all users of the console it was downloaded to. But no matter what the restrictions actually say, for Halo 4 the content is restricted to the gamertag that downloaded it. She didn’t want one account to hog all of the good stuff.

We preordered the Halo 4 console from Amazon, and preordered the Limited Edition of the game from Gamestop. As a result, we had at least a dozen codes for different avatar items, as well as in-game items: helmets, armor, armor skins, weapon skins, and emblems. The way that this content worked on previous games, such as Halo Reach, was that anything downloaded to the Xbox was tied to that console, but accessible to all users on that console. The only exceptions to this were the avatar items, which clearly stated in the usage restrictions that they were exclusive to the gamertag that downloaded them. Everything else stated in the usage restrictions that it was usable by all users on the console.

After entering all of the Halo 4 codes, reading through the usage restrictions on each one to verify that the terms were the same as before (they were), and downloading all of the items, we discovered that they were only usable by the gamertag that downloaded them, and not all users as we had expected. A little online searching revealed that other people were having this same problem, and were equally confused. I contacted the Xbox support team via Twitter, and was basically told that, despite what the fine print says, all content is tied to the gamertag that downloaded it. So now I have one gamertag on my console that has all of the bonus content, and the others have nothing. That is not how it is supposed to work.

All of these bonuses were included to help encourage people to buy the console, or upgrade to the Limited Edition, or preorder at a certain retailer, and now the people that paid for them are not able to use them as they were intended and advertised. I’ll be honest, a big part of the reason that I bought the console and the Limited Edition was for the exclusive in-game items, and now I feel cheated.

That isn’t fair at all. We don’t have contact information for that team other than the Twitter feed Misty mentioned, but perhaps they’ll issue additional codes if sad users complain enough.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.