E3 2021 Hype-rule Warrior (it me)

E3 is back, baby! Well, almost. Kind of. Sort of. Not really, but there are a bunch of exciting videos and streams from most of the big industry publishers coming up, so that’s good enough for me. It’s been a while since I’ve written out a wish list, but I just published the latest podcast episode, all about this very subject, so I thought I’d revisit my old wish lists and put the power of my desire for these games into the universe on the off chance that it somehow reaches the hearts of these publishers many months in the past and they begin working on these games with enough time to produce and show something for this event. Did that make sense? Probably not, but let’s move on.

Like many gamers, I have that nasty habit of getting my hopes way up for E3. I can usually keep my expectations in check, but there are always those little embers of hope that will burn eternally for some new, exciting entry in a long-loved series, or maybe some shocking new IP from a favorite developer. There are things we know we can reasonably expect, but it’s the things that seem farfetched that are the most tantalizing to dare wish for. My previous wish lists have been a mix of the two, and while I’m usually slightly disappointed when most of my hopes are dashed by any given E3 showing, my track record isn’t a complete disaster. From the two lists above, we did end up getting a new Animal Crossing game on Switch, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Dragon Quest XI, a new Tomb Raider game, Soulcalibur VI, plus announcements of new Fable and Perfect Dark games. And I want more? Yes. Always. Here are some things I want from some of the big publishers and platform holders.

Ubisoft

Sure, I want to see a teaser for a new Assassin’s Creed game, and I’d be pretty hyped for a new Splinter Cell even though I never played through any of the previous entries. What I really want from Ubisoft this year is info on Skull and Bones, though. I know they went back to the drawing board in terms of the game’s direction, and that set them back a bit, but they have to have something by now, right? Right? If I’m really being sassy, I don’t just want a new teaser, either. I want a full reveal. I want more than just ship-to-ship combat. I want exploration. I want to hunt for an old wooden treasure chest buried deep in the sand. I want to swim away from a cute fifteen foot great white shark who wants nothing more than to chomp my widdle feets. I want to sail under the stars, riding the wind and singing shanties with me maties. I want to pirate, not just fire cannonballs at another ship. And I want the option to do it offline, please. Give it to me, Ubisoft.

Microsoft/Bethesda

I don’t really know what I want from Microsoft, to be honest. They’ve heard my prayers for a new Fable game and even a new Perfect Dark game, so what else could a boy ask for? Well, mostly more of the same. Meaning, just show me the things I already know you’re working on. Give me a big ol’ substantial Starfield reveal. Show me multiple planets I can visit, show me a better and more fleshed out romance system (than the Elder Scrolls or Fallout games), show me a release window. Show me a better and more impressive Halo Infinite trailer. And, if you really want to be generous, actually show me something from the aforementioned Fable and Perfect Dark games. I get the sense that the latter is probably still very early in development, but even a flashy, brief teaser would be good. Even though I mostly want to see what I already know exists, I am pretty excited for Microsoft’s presentation, because they’ve done a good job of dropping big surprises in recent shows. They might even give me something I don’t even know I want yet!

Square Enix

Square Enix is a big one for me, due in no small part to the fact that they have made some of my favorite games and series of all time. They are one of the shows where my hopes are always way off the charts. Yes, I want to see more of Final Fantasy XVI and am hoping for a new Tomb Raider game, but what I really want I very much doubt I’ll get. Well, I’ll get Dragon Quest XII, because they just recently announced that at the Dragon Quest 35th Anniversary event. It’s probably also too early to see anything from the follow-up to Final Fantasy VII Remake, but boy howdy do I want to. And it would be perfect timing, given that the next gen version of the first game and a new DLC episode is dropping this month. If they do show it, I’d love for confirmation that there will some kind of overworld or open world for us to explore. I also want confirmation that Jesse is still alive. *teary-eyed emoji* The things I really, really want are probably not going to happen, but every year I cross my fingers and pray to the ancient gaming gods for Square Enix to do something with the Chrono franchise. The original game seems to get more and more love with each passing year, yet Square has done virtually nothing with it. I think many of us would love something dramatic, like a remake or a sequel, but at this point I would settle for a remastered version or a remake/remaster of Chrono Cross. Just some sign that they are aware that they have control over one of the most revered and highly regarded games of all time. I would also love a new Parasite Eve game, even if it’s just remasters of the two original games. Lastly, and this is a new one, with the reveal of an HD-2D remake of Dragon Quest III, I would love to see some classic Final Fantasy games done in the same engine/style. That one seems more plausible than my other two impossible wishes, but it also seems like something that we wouldn’t see until next year at the earliest.

Take-Two/Rockstar

There are rumors of a Red Dead Redemption remake/remaster, and of course we’re all curious about the state of Grand Theft Auto VI at this point, but who knows if/when we’ll see that. No, what I want is something I’ve been dreaming about for a very long time: Bully 2. Rumors of a sequel to the first game have kind of ebbed and flowed over the years, with pockets of certainty followed by some interview snippet that seems to completely shut it down. At a recent investor call, a rep for Take-Two said that “new iterations” of existing Rockstar IP were on their projected development table, and while that might very well just mean new GTA and Red Dead games, there is a silly little part of my brain that is hoping beyond hope that they mean the long-awaited Bully 2. Even a remake of the first game in the new engine with added content would be fine.

Capcom

Okay, so when I hear “Capcom” I automatically think “Resident Evil.” I haven’t played a Monster Hunter game yet, and Street Fighter VI is just a given, right? So, aside from a surprise new Marvel vs Capcom or Street Fighter Alpha announcement (doubtful), what I most want is, well, more Resident Evil. I know, I know, they just released one of my favorite RE games of all time, but it’s not just that I’m a greedy glutton for more (though, to be fair, I am). Capcom has released four mainline Resident Evil games in the last four years: Resident Evil 7 (2017), Resident Evil 2 (2019), Resident Evil 3 (2020), and Resident Evil Village (2021). All of those games are excellent, and if I remember correctly at some point they stated that they intended to stagger new entries with remakes. If that’s true, it’s remake time, babyyyyyy. I get the sense that people want a Code: Veronica remake but expect a Resident Evil 4 remake. Either of those would be fine with me, but if I’m being honest, what I really want is a re-remake of the original Resident Evil, or maybe even a combination of Resident Evil 0 and that game, since their stories directly tie together and overlap. The original has already been remade, true, and maybe that will be what delays or prevents its consideration for the remake treatment. But that remake was released almost twenty years ago and was still using the pre-rendered backround/tank control-style of old school RE games. Imagine it remade in the new engine with an over-the-shoulder camera, like RE 2. *drools* Capcom did confirm that they’ll be talking about Resident Evil Village, and my hope is that we see actual DLC and not just more of Re:Verse. Resident Evil 7 had some excellent DLC, so I want to see more of that with Village. Maybe one pack that follows Chris’s exploits, and two packs dedicated to showing us more backstory for the four lords? Two lords per pack?

Nintendo

Nintendo seems to have a habit of either completely rocking people’s shit and being the talk of the show, or being the biggest disappointment. They can’t help it, though, if you think about it. They have the biggest, longest standing stable of classic characters and series. At every turn, people are asking when the next Mario or Zelda or Smash or Kart or Crossing or Paper or you name it. So it’s a given that there will always be a swath of Nintendo fans that will walk away sad that they didn’t see their favorite series or character represented. And Nintendo is in a very comfortable place right now in terms of both hardware and software sales, so it’s not exactly like they need to make a big splash. Still, I hope they not only show what’s become known as Breath of the Wild 2, but also give us a release date. Some people think it will be a 2022 game, but I have a hard time seeing it slipping from this year. If it really is using the same engine and assets as the first game, which it seems to be, I bet they’ve finished most of the core game by now and are in the polishing/testing phase. Mid-November to early December seems like a fair release window to me. Having said that, what do I want to see from a sequel to what’s become my favorite Zelda game? I not only want to see more Zelda, I want this to be a co-op adventure. If you had to switch back and forth between Link and Zelda for certain puzzles and if you could have a friend take the helm of one character, that would be pretty awesome.

Mario Kart 8 is one of my favorite games of all time, and with the original release being a full seven years ago, you’d think we were due for another entry. 8 has been selling like gangbusters month after month since the Switch version released, though, so I kind of doubt Nintendo is rushing the next version out the door. Still, it would be exciting to get a teaser, at least, as unlikely as it is. The reveal of new Smash characters is always fun, and rumors about which multiplatform character might show up next are always a good time. I said this in one of the previous wish list posts, but the time seems more right than ever for Master Chief. Would I love a character from Chrono Trigger? Magus, preferably? Sure. But that seems like a long, long, long shot. Nintendo’s already put two Microsoft fighters in (Minecraft Steve and Banjo & Kazooie), so the emerald-armored Spartan seems more and more likely, especially given the presumably close proximity of Halo Infinite’s release. Given my love for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I also want a peek at the first true Switch Fire Emblem game. Three Houses started life as a 3DS game, and with how simplistic and muddy some of the environmental art is, it showed. I’d settle for a game that looked the same if the story and characters were just as good, but I’d love for them to wow us with a game that takes advantage of the rumored Switch Pro.

And, of course, the two games I will never stop wishing for until Nintendo delivers them to us: Mother 3 and a new Eternal Darkness game. I mean, I’d take anything from either franchise. The long-awaited English translation of Mother 3, an EarthBound remaster, a whole new game in the series. An Eternal Darkness remake, ala Resident Evil 2, a sequel that utilizes the HD rumble and other Switch features, whatever. Just do something with one or both of those series, damn it. I fear that the most likely window for some EarthBound news has passed, with the 30th anniversary of the first game in the series and the 25th anniversary of the second having passed. Sigh. It seems like an eventuality, because the call for a localization or port have only increased over the years, but when we’ll finally hear something seems a mystery. Also, where is our new Virtual Console, Nintendo? The current set-up can’t hold a candle to the previous catalog.

Bandai Namco

Bandai Namco have lots that they could show, put there are two pretty specific things that I want: remasters of the first two Tales games (Tales of Destiny and its sequel), and Ace Combat 8. Given the fact that Project Aces, Namco’s internal development team behind the AC games, had to reportedly fight for the chance to make AC 7, I have to wonder about the possibility for a sequel. Still, it was fairly successful both critically and commercially, so I’m holding out hope. Can you imagine a photorealistic flight sim that takes advantage of next gen processing power? As the kids say, “sheeeeeeesh.”

Sega

Persona 6. I want to just leave that here. No explanation. But I can’t. It’s probably my most anticipated game for the near future, but we’ve heard virtually zero about it. We know it’s in development, but at what stage is Atlus in? Persona 5 came out in Japan five years ago, so it sure feels like they must be pretty deep in development by now, even if P-Studio did help out with all of the bonus Persona games we’ve been treated to these five long years. Like Square Enix, Atlus/Sega has been targeting worldwide launches as of late, so my deep, deep hope is that we see a teaser at E3, get a trailer by the end of the year, and see the full game released next year. In the meantime, give us a remake or remaster of Persona 3, you cowards! You’ve already made new assets for the dancing game! Do it! Please!

And what about all of those Sega acquisition rumors? They’ve persisted for years, ever since Sega moved away from hardware, really, but they’ve always seemed kind of silly and star-gazey. It wasn’t until GamesIndustry.biz reported that Sega’s parent company had divided its assets, including its games division, in what could be preparation for a sale of some (but not all) assets. Sega has made some acquisitions of its own in recent years, including Atlus, and it may have been part of an effort to bolster its appeal for a sale. The rumors always seemed far-fetched to me until now. But who would they sell to? The name I keep hearing is Microsoft, and while that would make sense from Microsoft’s side, Sega is an old, storied Japanese company, so I have my doubts about that. That’s not to say I can’t see it, but it would surprise me more than if Sony or even Square Enix picked them up, even though those two don’t “need” it as much (and could Square Enix afford it?). Either way, if the rumors are true, and we learned about it at E3 – holy shit. What a historic year that would make this.

EA/BioWare

While EA is doing its own thing, as usual, I’m including my wishes for them here. They have a huge portfolio of games, but there are only a few I’m dying to hear more about or, dare I demand, see. New entries in both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series have been teased, but only very recently. Do they have enough to show something substantial? Probably not, but I would love to see it, if they did. I do think they could probably have a short sizzle trailer for Dragon Age by this point, so that would be amazing to finally get a glimpse of. In terms of a surprise, though, I’d fall out of my proverbial chair if they showed anything from the long-rumored Knights of the Old Republic remake. I think I remember reading that BioWare is not working on it, but I assume EA still has the rights, so if it was going to be at a show, it would probably be this one, right? If we did see it, it would shoot to the top tier of my most-anticipated games list for sure.

Sony

Sony is also doing its own thing again, but unfortunately we don’t have any clue when that might be. Guerrilla Games recently said that they are still shooting for a 2021 release date for Horizon Forbidden West but are waiting until they’re more certain before announcing a date. Are they waiting for Sony’s event, or is Sony holding off on their event until they have a firm date that they can announce? That’s the last bit of info for Horizon that I’m interested in. I want it. Just give it to me this year. God of War: Ragnarok was originally slated to release this year but has since been pushed to 2022, but that means they are well into development at this point. Far enough along to share some actual footage, right? So I’m looking forward to that. I’d also love to see a new Uncharted game, but who knows if Naughty Dog will have had enough time to produce something showable, given that The Last of Us Part II came out just last year. The real thing I want to see at Sony’s show, though, is PlayStation VR 2. They’ve announced it and teased its features, but I want to see it in action. Well, as much as you can with a VR headset. I want to hear about the comfort, the convenience, the games – give me all the deets, damn it.

There are other things I’d love to see, of course, but these are the big ones. I listed more than I have in the past, so maybe now if only 20% of these hopes/dreams/predictions come true, I won’t be as sad because that will still be several games I’m getting. *wink* Who am I kidding? The moment the Nintendo showcase ends and we’re left with no Mother 3 again, the post-E3 depression will set in, regardless of the fact that we got surprise Metal Gear and Silent Hill announcements and the Resident Evil 4 remake looks rad. Just kidding. I would absolutely settle for that. Until then, I’m grabbing my nachos and Coke Zero and settling in for an exciting few days coming up!

Farewell, Xbox (Petty Squabbles with a Giant)

This has the distinct possibility of running away with me, but I really will do my best to keep it short. Ish. Short-ish, because there’s a lot to tell.

XBox-Live-Support

Essentially, I bought a song bundle for Rock Band 2 in 2009 and was unable to download it on my Xbox One to play it in my newly purchased Rock Band 4. I am, according to all available sources, supposed to be able to access all previously purchased downloadable content for the game as long as it’s on the same family of consoles (which it is, with both being Xbox). All of the other songs I’d purchased on the 360 downloaded just fine but this specific bundle did not, so I figured there must be some kind of problem with the content or my account.

After speaking with three online chat representatives, one phone rep, a series of Xbox Twitter support reps, two Xbox Support Forum reps, and the game’s publisher (Harmonix, via email), their ultimate conclusion is that I must be lying (or humbly mistaken). I’ll break it down:

Chat rep 1 (Reyan E., July 5): He had me check my Microsoft account purchase history via web browser, but when I revealed that it only went back to purchases made after 2013, he asked me to check the same information through my 360. I didn’t have access to it so I told him I’d check it later in the day and contact them back.

Chat rep 2 (Leo, July 5): I informed him that my 360 purchase history shows the same information that my browser-accessed account does: it lists them as “recent” purchases and only goes back to 2013. He told me that I should contact Harmonix because “all the songs are coming form the Harmonix servers and we do not have a direct access to it.”

So I emailed Harmonix support (July 5) and explained the situation. They responded with: “Unfortunately if Microsoft can not confirm the Export Licences have been previously purchased on your account, under the same GamerTag which you are using for Rock Band 4, then there is nothing further we can do. Harmonix has no way to reference any personal information stored in your first-party account, as this information is handled exclusively by Microsoft.”

Chat rep 3 (Jake G., July 6): After again asking me to check my purchase history in a few different ways and confirming that I can’t see it (or other DLC I purchased around the same time), he instructed me to delete my profile on my Xbox One, reset my console, and reboot my router and modem before reloading my profile and attempting to download the material again. “I can assure you that everything will work fine,” he said. I expressed doubt because if it was indeed a DNS issue then I wouldn’t have been able to download the other songs: “It seems weird that I would be able to download the other songs and not this set, but I’m willing to try anything at this point,” I said. But he assured me, “I’m very positive that this process will resolve the issue that we have today,” and added “I will also make sure to send you follow-ups through email moving forward.”

Side quest: rebooting my router caused it to experience a hardware failure, so it was completely unusable. It was still under warranty, so I was able to get a replacement sent to me by the manufacturer, but I had to wait for it to arrive before trying the last step of Jake’s fix. The router arrived July 11th and I tried loading my profile and accessing the content on my Xbox One the next day. It didn’t work. At this point I was getting frustrated at having to constantly provide the same information and being given solutions that didn’t work, and having to replace my router in the middle of it didn’t help. I was feeling betrayed and disappointed, but I wanted new songs for Rock Band 4 so I (perhaps foolishly, in hindsight) bought $60 worth of new downloadable songs for it. We’ll come back to that later. After a busy few days of doing other things, I got around to calling Xbox Support, hoping that speaking to someone might yield better results.

Phone rep (MJ, July 19): It was around a 45 minute call, during which he asked me to check my purchase history again, checked it on his end, and consulted an “escalation team.” They concluded it was a backwards compatibility issue.  I calmly disagreed, because it has been available for purchase on the Xbox One since October 2015, thus people have been able to download it and play it on both systems since then. He insisted that it must be the issue and said that their engineers would be working to fix it. Less calmly (especially because I began the conversation politely and meekly saying that I was becoming frustrated by this whole ordeal) I disagreed, because I was able to download and play other songs that I had accessed on the 360 just fine, and if it were an issue with compatibility I would not be able to access any of the songs. He again insisted that it was an issue of compatibility, at which point I became enraged. I didn’t curse or yell, but I took a few breaths before explaining that I was staring at the content in the Xbox Live store on my Xbox One as we spoke, and it was available for purchase, and if I purchased it right now I would be able to play it like other people have been doing since October of 2015, and that if it were a compatibility issue that would not be the case. He took a few breaths of his own before again saying it was a compatibility issue, so I asked him if there was someone I could speak to elevate this or complain to that it wasn’t being resolved. He told me I could go to the Xbox Support Forums to complain.

When I hung up with him my hands were literally shaking with anger. I am not a confrontational person, especially because many times I question myself and wonder if I might be in the wrong, but in this case I was certain that I was right, so being repeatedly asked to provide proof (that seemingly doesn’t exist) or given fixes that just waste my time and don’t work, I felt defeated and powerless. I was being denied any actual solutions and I couldn’t do anything about it, aside from posting about it on Facebook to my meager 275 friends. After the call, the same day, I tweeted:

The Xbox Support Twitter team responded with “@Losperman We’d be happy to help, though we could use more info. Could you please follow & DM @Xboxsupport with your Gamertag? ^EZ”

They directed me to yet another site where I could check what content I had previously purchased using my Xbox 360 and asked me to send them pictures of what I saw. I showed them these:

…along with a screenshot of the last item shown on my Microsoft “recent purchases” page, which was in 2013. The first picture above shows “All” of my Xbox 360 purchases, which you’ll note is completely empty. The second picture shows what appears when I click on the “Full Games” category. This does indeed show games that I bought on the 360 going back to the very first game I purchased. So already it seems like there’s an issue with their record keeping. If I look at “All Items” (first picture), the games that show up when I look at “Full Games” should be there, but they’re not. Likewise, when I click on other categories like “Avatars,” “Game Demos,” and “Gamer Pic,” items that I purchased dating back to when I first got my 360 show up. There is one category that shows nothing, though, and that’s picture 3, “Game Addon,” aka DLC. I purchased quite a lot of DLC with my Xbox 360, including all of the Rock Band songs that I was successfully able to access on my Xbox One. Some of the DLC that fails to appear on that site shows up on Microsoft’s billing site, which I’d sent them a screenshot of. So there is direct evidence of their record keeping being sketchy. The Microsoft billing site shows that I bought some Rock Band songs after 2013 and I can access them on my Xbox One, but this site shows that I never purchased any DLC on my 360, for Rock Band or otherwise.

They suggested that I might have bought it under another account. I explained that I only have one account, and I used Microsoft Points to make the purchase, which are tied directly to my account.

They replied with: “Since the items that you are looking to download did not show up on that list it would be best to contact our phone/chat team for more support.”

Yes. They referred me to the team who led me to tweet my frustration in the first place.

In the end, they concluded: “We can definitely take down all the info you’ve provided to make sure we are keeping an eye out for any other possible solutions, we just did not want to promise anything we couldn’t follow through on.”

This response was probably the apex of my already exceedingly breached anger and anxiety. After speaking to three chat reps, a phone rep, and four Twitter reps (direct messages were signed with initials), their response was that they would “keep an eye out for any other possible solutions.” There is a possible solution that they can enact. They can give me a code for the DLC that I purchased. But they would only do that if they believed that I’d actually purchased it at some point. If they believe I’m lying and trying to get $18 worth of DLC from them for free, they would keep asking me to find proof, despite their own web sites proving inconsistent in being able to help me do that. So I tweeted:

A rep DMed me after that, saying “Definitely not implying you are lying or anything, truly hope you don’t feel that way.” But how can I not? If they believed I was telling the truth and I had actually purchased the content and just wasn’t able to access it on my Xbox One, they would give me access to it by crediting my account with it or providing me with a code that would allow me to download it. I’m not asking for anything more. If I get pickles on my Big Mac, despite asking otherwise, I don’t ever bring it back, and if I do I don’t demand for them to throw in a free order of fries because they messed up. I don’t like being ‘that guy.’ I hate being the source of someone’s annoyance or embarrassment. But if I didn’t get a Big Mac that I ordered, I would ask for it. I would expect it to be provided for me if I paid for it. If I was told they would “keep an eye out for it,” I’d be pretty upset. And I am.

At the beginning of this series of DMs on Twitter, I posted a thread at the Xbox Support Community, where the phone rep suggested I go to complain (http://forums.xbox.com/xbox_support/xbox_one_support/f/5574/t/2187543.aspx?pi7962=1). I explained the situation and detailed my grief, ending my post with “I apologize for the lengthy post, but as I said, I am incredibly frustrated with how this has been handled and I’m not sure where I can go to vent, since it doesn’t seem like my issue is going to be resolved.” After a community member tried to offer help, a staff member actually responded and after the other reps had repeatedly danced around directly claiming that I did not own the content, she said it outright: “Unfortunately, if you are unable to locate Peal Jam’s Ten DLC in your purchase history that would indicate that you may not own said content.”

She suggested, like one of the Twitter reps, that it might have been purchased under another account on the same console. I explained that it almost certainly wasn’t, due to the reasons I’ve already stated, and pointed out that there is plenty of content that I bought prior to 2013 (when my recent purchase history ends, according to their records) that I can access fine, so the logic that the content not being on that list means that I don’t own it doesn’t hold water.

A different staff member responded and asked me, again, for the maybe twelfth or fourteenth or twentieth time, to check my purchase history. If it was there, he said, I would have to go to Harmonix’s support forum and ask for help. If it wasn’t there it “would indicate your Xbox Live account may not own the appropriate license.”

If you’ve read this far, or even skimmed, I hope that you can understand how maddening it might be to have that be their final resolution. If my official Microsoft purchase history, which only shows me purchases made in and after 2013, doesn’t show me something that I bought in 2009, then I must not own it. With that logic, I don’t own the games and DLC that I purchased prior to 2013 and have already transferred to my Xbox One.

The insinuation is pretty clear: I’m either an idiot who somehow mistakenly bought DLC for myself under another person’s account (that I don’t have access to), or I’m lying about having ever purchased the content and am just trying to get them to give it to me for free or perhaps trying to get them to just give me the funds to buy it again. Either way, I want to do some math really quick.

I own an Xbox, an Xbox 360, and an Xbox One. I bought them fairly close to their release windows. The original Xbox was $300. The 360 Elite was $479, but I got it on sale for around $350. The Xbox One bundle I got was $400. Total spent on consoles: $1,050.

Not counting controllers that came with the systems, I own two Xbox controllers, four Xbox 360 controllers, and one Xbox One controller. In each case the controllers were around $50, but I might have gotten a couple of them on sale (though controller sales are much more rare than game sales), so I will put them at $45 each. Total spent on controllers: $315.

I have 19 Xbox games, but I am pretty sure I bought four of them used. I won’t count those, because the money I paid probably didn’t go to Microsoft. So I have 15 games, and they were $50 brand new at the time. I probably got some on sale, so let’s just say $40 each. That’s $600. I own 89 Xbox 360 games, which is not surprising when you consider that it was one of my favorite consoles of all time. By that point I very rarely bought used games because I became tired of GameStop and its tactics, and I liked the idea of supporting game developers. And I discovered Amazon.com. I do remember buying one of them from a pawn shop, but I’ll play it safe and say I got four used. That’s 85 games, brand new. Games were $60 at this point, but I got a lot of them on sale. So let’s say $45 on average. That’s $3,825. I bought some collector’s editions on day one, though (the Batman: Arkham games, Gears of War 3, all BioWare games), and some of them were $100 or more. Let’s play it safe and say I bought eight CE games, and I paid an extra $30 each for them. That’s an additional $240. In total, that’s $4,065. I own five Xbox One games. I paid full price for all but one of them, which I got on sale for $35. So that’s $275. I bought the full band kit for Rock Band and Rock Band 4. In both cases I paid the same, actually: $170. If I subtract the estimated $45 for each game, that’s $250. In total, I’ve spent around $5,190 on games across three platforms.

Downloadable content is much harder to guess. I’ve bought a few avatar accessories, wallpapers, downloadable games like Uno, the Penny Arcade games, and Pac-Man: Championship Edition. I’ve bought a lot of Rock Band songs. A lot. Aside from the Pearl Jam songs that started this whole thing, I’ve bought more than an album’s worth of Foo Fighters songs, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album and additional song pack, song packs from Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, Queen, and more. And, of course, there’s the $60 that I mentioned earlier, just a few days ago. In all, I’d say $500 is a very conservative figure. But I want to be fair, so I’ll go with that.

And let’s not forget Xbox Live membership. I don’t recall jumping on board with the original Xbox, but I got a Gold account right after getting my 360 and have been an active member since with virtually no gaps. So that’s $50 a year since 2007, or $500.

Consoles: $1,050

Controllers: $315

Games: $5,190

Downloadable content: $500

Xbox Live: $500

Total: $7,555.

This is not including tax, and not including other Microsoft products, like operating systems, Office, PC games, etc. On Xbox products I’ve spent $7,555. At least. So for Xbox Support to consistently act like I must be mistaken in having purchased this or, worse, like I’m lying and trying to get free downloadable content, is repulsive. That might be a strong word, but I choose it decidedly. I can’t explain why their system of record keeping does not allow me to see purchases I’ve made before 2013. Neither can they, as they have offered no explanation for that. So it comes down to my memory and the logic surrounding why I would have been the one to purchase the material, and them claiming that I must surely be mistaken if I can’t currently access it.

Their fix, you’ll remember, is not a fix at all. It’s that they’ll “keep an eye out for any other possible solutions.” Like the rep who promised two weeks ago that he would follow up with me and has failed to do so, I doubt I’ll hear back from them.

These last few days have been rough. The anger and helplessness that I feel distract me even when I’m not actively thinking about it. I’ve spent hours chatting, emailing, talking, messaging, and posting about this and I have nothing to show for it. I’ve been fighting for $18 after having spent over 400 times that amount on Xbox products. These are hours I’ll never get back. For what?

For what, indeed. Part of what’s been making this such a trying time is the questions that tangle throughout my brain at all times of day. Why is this a big deal? Is it even worth it? Would other people fight over something so small? Are you being petty? Is this trivial? Are your friends judging you for this? Maybe you should just drop it.

But I can’t. Sure, it’s only $18. But Microsoft makes a lot of money from people like me, and when we buy things from them we enter into an agreement. I give them money, they give me something in return. In this case, I gave them $18 for access to digital material across platforms. I’m not getting that, and my time is being wasted every time I am told to check my purchase history again and again, and never given an explanation for why my purchase history is incomplete on their end. As I said previously, I was never expecting a “we’re sorry, here’s a gift card that will cover the content and then some.” I didn’t want a handout, I just wanted what I paid for. I still don’t want any extras. At this point I don’t even know if I want the damn content that I was fighting for. After spending years supporting a company with my money, time, and public opinion, it’s physically painful to be treated like this. I feel sick when I think about it too much. I get headaches. I’m not being dramatic. I’m not a hypochondriac.  It’s just what life has been these last few days.

In my response to their message in which they said they’ll “keep an eye out for any other possible solutions,” I told them that I won’t support their products until I get a resolution. I have been a gamer since my earliest memories, and I have almost every home console ever released. I may have had favorites, but my allegiance has always been to myself and my desire to experience it all. I don’t see why I should support a company that doesn’t support me. I was planning on buying another $50 worth of Rock Band DLC this week but I’ve been holding off. I think I’ll pass. And I’ll pass on new Xbox One games, and Xbox Live, and HoloLens, and their next console. They can keep their $18 if they truly feel it’s worth it.