Microsoft Messes Up Halo 4 DLC, Then Invents “14 Day, Buy and Play” PR Campaign

[drop2]If you bought the Limited Edition of Halo 4 you also bought your way into access to map packs, something you could also do if you spent an additional $25 or so on top of the regular edition.

Season passes are becoming ever more popular (and are likely to be even more so next gen) and this is just another take on that – paying up front for downloadable content in the future.


All well and good, except for some reason Microsoft issued the first major map pack for free.

What happened was that the Limited Edition also gave you the option to unlock eight specialisations for your multiplayer character before anyone else, giving you something on an edge online. Howver, a code was emailed out for these specialisation boosts to anyone that played online in the first two weeks of the game’s launch, and that code also unlocked the first set of maps.

According to reports and more reports, that was a mistake, with Microsoft’s own Twitter channels confirming that this was in error. Fair enough, people make mistakes, and although those that bought the game felt short-changed, it at least meant more people were playing online on the new maps.

But – wait for it – Microsoft then tried to turn it around. “As an additional reward to those customers that participated in our ’14 Day, Buy and Play’ program (which ran from Nov. 6 – Nov. 20), we are providing complimentary access to the Crimson Map Pack for a limited time, says a press release.

“There were some initial complications with the distribution of the ’14 day, Buy and Play’ reward tokens, and so we decided to provide the additional reward of complimentary access to the Crimson Map Pack, for a limited time, as a ‘thank you’ to our customers that contributed to the success of the ‘Halo 4’ launch,” the blurb continues.

That’s lovely, but this “14 day, Buy and Play” program didn’t exist before this press release – at least not when I did a custom date range search in Google – the only results are from the last couple of days and there’s nothing before the 6th or 7th of December. An odd way to promote a program, eh? Kotaku (and others) seem happy enough to run this PR, but there wasn’t any mention of this before this accident, so I’m a little confused.

Especially as all this only affects US gamers, so I can’t even check.

The Xbox Twitter account this morning seems to now be labeling the maps as a ‘trial’, further complicating the story. They’re suggesting that those that got the map for free will then have to pay for it if they want to keep it…



  1. Yeah but Uncharted is running fine, MGS4 has trophies and The Last of Us looks ace.

    On a serious note – this is a confusing cock-up indeed. I actually played plenty of of Halo 4 online and a good chunk of the campaign. It just didn’t grab me the way Halo 3 did. Having a gamer-score of 83K and 4 years worth of LIVE gaming – Halo 4 was the 360’s last chance of redemption for my continued use. It, as with Forza Horizon, just didn’t deliver.
    These “mistakes” seem to me another example of Microsoft putting sod all effort into the execution of their plans / offerings, whilst leaving developers and gamers to sift through the mess. Infact the only thing they seem to back recently is silly Kinect features and intrusive advertising at the dashboard! Charge me £40 a year and still tell me Vigin Fibre is great for gaming? F*** Off!
    So yes, i’m not surprised they messed this up nor expecting any admission or acceptance of a responsibility to compensate those who paid extra with the ltd edition copies.

    • To be fair, Sony do some monumentally stupid things too but, agreed, Microsoft’s current tack with the more hardcore gamer seems way off at times.

      • And Nintendo! They’re all a bunch of fucktards!

      • Yup Sony mess up too, no question. When they do Kotaku and most of the popular gaming press are there to point it out.

        Halo 4 is pretty much Microsoft’s hard core trump card this year, despite the fact it will sell at the usual Halo rate I have to agree with VINDICARE 40K for the most part. Since the release of Kinect I’ve not really been sure what Microsoft’s focus is and this is another example of their lack of commitment to…. me.

        So yes, Sony mess up – but as far as my gaming preference goes they make up for it with outstanding releases and – PS PLUS.

  2. So instead of showing their customers some goodwill by allowing those who get it for free to keep it, they plan on charging them for it due to their cockup. Now, SCEE have done some pretty crap things but they’ve not made us pay for something because they cocked up, unlike MS. :O Which is surprising.

    Also, MS may want to be careful as they can’t afford to drive away Halo’s fanbase due to it being one of the few exclusives they have that is still active. Also, why can’t they just come out, admit that they cocked up and allow everyone to keep it. As customer service can determine whether a bussiness falls flat on it’s arse or not. And considering they have seem to have forgotten about the core userbase, this may not bode well for them.

    On the other hand, tis a map so the users may not be that bothered. :)

    • Although it’s ridiculous to pretend that its some sort of pre-planned trial those poor buggers who paid top price for the maps could perhaps be considered the biggest fans, so to keep them happy and not let everyone else have a freebie seems fair enough. Really, they should be aditting the cock up like you say and then ideally saying everyone can try it out then buy it, unless they’ve already paid for it, fook knows why big companies seem to think their consumers will swallow such ridiculous PR ploys.

      • Microsoft has screwed up a lot though. Recently, people got the Borderlands 2 pass free thanks to a screwup in another country. I paid for that and could care less if people are playing free. It happened withDungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime as well as some other arcade games and even a few Games on Demand including an F1 game in Germany. Not to mention a lot of avatar prop and clothes messups. Microsoft never said or did anything about those. The only difference is this is on a bigger scale and thus making news.

        And I think it’s petty for the people who paid to be mad over it. It’s like being mad at buying software that ends up being freeware or missing out on a sale by a few days. It happens to everyone at some point.

        I think Microsoft should just admit they messed up and just refund all the Edition and Pass buyers the $5 difference between buying the two maps for $20 and the deal they got of 3 for $25 (and whatever it is outside the US). It’s not even worth the actual cash as it’s inflated virtual currency anyway.

  3. …Invented by the man who replaced the man who got fired for this blunder

    • Lol, probably very accurate :)

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