Whinging Drama Queen Brigade: Can't beat 'em? Join 'em
Thu, 4 May 2006
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I finally got the damn thing. In my most recent Editorial, I told you that I'd explain the bothersome issues I had with obtaining my Xbox 360 console (along with its launch in general). I also said that "some heads might just roll". Well, I will come clean now and admit that, while some feathers probably will be a little ruffled, I was being intentionally melodramatic when I made those proclamations. I basically said that in order to try and grab your full attention. I figured it was about time for me to pull that particular card out of my sleeve. I mean, every bastard seems to use that tactic on me all the time. I reckon I'm entitled to my turn at it.
As this information/anecdote is unlikely to be of interest to everyone, I chose to split the articles into two parts (besides, I often get good feedback from you folks when I do the multi-part article thing). I'm going to start by explaining why it took so long for me to get my 360 and why I was rather unimpressed by the job Microsoft did with the launch. If you're not interested in reading my little bitch session (and I wouldn't begrudge you that in the least) feel free to ignore this first 360 article. Instead, wait to read the second one; which will be the actual review of the console.
I asked Microsoft, before the 360's launch, if they could offer any discounted systems for review purposes (I didn't even attempt requesting a free one, as I'd already heard about how hard they were/are to get - even for Australia's biggest gaming publication). Well, they said no. That didn't bother me really. They don't owe me anything. Besides, they do send Buttonhole review copy games and helpful information. No worries then and fair enough.
Then came those water balloon fight ads and press releases. "That seems really lame" and "I don't get it" (or variations on those words and sentiments) are the only comments I heard from people, regarding the water balloon antics. (When I say "people" I mean Buttonhole readers & staff, fellow gamer friends and reviewers from other places that I speak to now and then). I strongly doubt this was Microsoft's intended reaction.
As a matter of fact, I really don't know what sort of reaction Gatesy's crew were/are actually aiming for with the water balloons deal. I mean, I'm all for a bit of fun and silliness, but what the hell do water balloon records have to do with the Xbox 360? Or, for that matter, videogames in general?
|Those zany bastards |
Perhaps I am missing something. I guess getting a huge number of people together, in an unusual & humorous way like that, could help build goodwill, leading to word of mouth bringing sales.
I honestly believe, however, if they'd saved the money, time and effort used to hold such an event, they could have instead spent it on getting 360 units to the press. As in, magazines & websites (like, say, this one!). You know, the people who could/can help promote the Xbox 360 for them. In doing so, surely they'd reach the very audience most likely to be interested. Still, what do I know? Maybe I'm just being overly cynical. Maybe throwing a shitload of water balloons around is the exact thing thousands of people were waiting for, to convince them to purchase a new game console.
I was a little ticked off & baffled by all that. Don't get me wrong; I didn't lose any sleep over it. I just considered it a minor annoyance.
Anyway, Microsoft since easily redeemed themselves, in my mind. You see, some other people had caused a far bigger problem with me getting my 360 system. It was the big M themselves who fixed that for me. Here's what happened:
Since I couldn't score a free (or discounted) 360, I knew I'd be left to purchase one for myself. I ordered one from Electronics Boutique. Big mistake. I don't know if all EB stores are incompetent. I do know that, in this instance at least, the EB located at the Karingal Hub shopping centre did an amazingly shithouse job.
I didn't pre-order, due to a combination of having no money and being in hospital at the time. But I did go to EB on the day after the official 360 launch. I ordered one then and put a deposit on it. I also made it abundantly clear that I'd pass over the full amount of dough for the console, as soon as they got more in. You see, I was told (by the Karingal EB store's manager, as well as his staff) that they didn't have any 360 units left in stock & they weren't sure when they would.
And then, I waited. Next, I went and asked if they had more 360s in yet. "No", they told me & they still didn't know when they would either (although, "We hope 2 or 3 weeks" seemed to be one of their favourite replies). And then, I waited. This pattern went on for weeks (literally).
It started to get embarrassing for me. It makes Buttonhole look bad if we're not up to date (reasonably, at least) with things. I'm already always struggling to keep up with everything. I usually attempt to use every little bit of time I get in as productive a fashion as possible (that's not a complaint, just stating a fact).
The additional delays EB caused me (including the time I had to spend asking them about it & travelling to the store itself) didn't exactly fill me with delight. Plus, readers were asking when our 360 coverage would be posted. Several review copy 360 titles from our supporters were just sitting there, with me being unable to play them.
Finally, I just wrote to Buttonhole's friends at Microsoft themselves, asking if they knew when I could expect more 360 units to reach my neck of the woods. Guess what? About 20 minutes after I sent that email, I got a call from Electonics Boutique. They'd just heard from the "Head Office" about me getting an Xbox 360 for Buttonhole. I dunno what Micrsoft said to them, but it must have been pretty good! Because, suddenly, EB had some 360 systems in stock after all. Not only that, but apparently they'd had them in since "two days after launch" (their exact words).
|Here's a shot of one of those EB guys |
Shortly after receiving that phone call from EB, off I trotted, to pick up my new console. When I got there, they said they didn't know why I was previously informed no 360 units were available. They basically claimed that somebody must have gotten their wires crossed. They also adamantly implied the whole ridiculous debacle was through no fault of their own. The most crazy thing about this is; the EB guys who said that are the exact same people who told me they didn't have any.
Yep, it was indeed those very same dudes who had presviously kept informing me they had no 360s in store. They said that each and every time I asked! What kind of absurd bullshit is that? They either had them, or they didn't have them. It can't be both! So, yeah, they completely contradicted themselves and stood there lying to my face. I didn't bother to argue with them, however, because that'd just be a waste of time and effort. I already know that (for reasons I'll likely never decipher) they'd been feeding me a bunch of bullshit. As such, they'd probably just continue to feed me even more.
In order to help "make up" for the inconvenience they caused and the shitty service they'd provided, EB Karingal offered me $20 off a 360 game. Wow, try not go overboard with generosity guys!
I'd now like to thank Microsoft. For stirring those Electronic Boutique morons into action and getting them to do their jobs. I offer my apologies to Microsoft too; since I'd incorrectly been blaming them for Buttonhole's 360 coverage delays. I just took EB at their word and believed what they'd been telling me (because lying to your customers is not good business practise & I never thought to even consider that they'd be that stupid).
From now on, if I have any problems, questions, or whatever related to their products, I shall go straight to Microsoft themselves. As for Electronics Boutique; as I said, I can't tell you for certain if their other stores are reliable or not, but I will not be going to the one at Karingal Hub ever again. I suggest that nobody else does either, unless you're a sucker for punishment.
All is well that ends well, right? I'm really loving my Xbox 360. I'm also loving all the sweet games for it that Buttonhole's supporters have provided. Our terrifying reviewer known as Jason has a 360 too, as you could probably guess, since he's already written about one of the games for it - Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. That particular title came to us courtesy of our chums at Activision (and we got a bunch of other beauties from them too). I wouldn't be too shocked if others on our crew soon have 360s of their own as well.
|I am pleased to make your acquaintance at last, Mr. 360 |
I'll go into much more detail regarding my thoughts on the system in my 360 review. You can expect that very soon. I might even get it done tomorrow. But, at the latest, it'll be posted by Sunday.
When I do that review, I shall return to my more positive and upbeat ways. As I've said several times in the past; there is little in life that old Sammy finds as enjoyable as getting a new videogame system.
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