The risk of consuming digital games- English Thread

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Rolman
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The risk of consuming digital games- English Thread

Post by Rolman » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:55 pm

Here's the original link to the Spanish version of the text:

http://atomix.vg/2016/01/25/los-riesgos ... digitales/

And here's the full English transcript (Notes and translation by Rolando Cedillo.)

We welcome discussion in this thread. Please let us know if you think I made a mistake or want to further clarify something.


----

The Risks of Consuming Digital Games or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the DLC. by Artemio Urbina


(Note:

The next article describes an incident and the following conversations between our good friend Artemio Urbina and the Tech Support from a videogame manufacturer who used what we call today a “Kill Switch” and ‘DRM’ to remotely restrict access to legitimately paid content based on a ‘false positive’. It’s highly relevant to stress that these events are not exclusive to any of the parties involved; every manufacturer of digital goods actively uses similar mechanisms and licensing.

While there are uses of these digital rights protection mechanisms that could represent an advantage to the consumer; there are many cases where the end user is at a disadvantage. In the Digital Era, every consumer is exposed to similar conditions involving digital content and licenses that require authorization from Internet-based systems.

To know more about online consumer rights, we recommend the following links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_swit ... r_software
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/10/n ... egal-terms
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_r ... t_hardware
).

In the afternoon of November 28th 2015, I went to buy what would be my fourth Nintendo 3DS (after exchanging consoles with previous generations of 3DS and 3DS XL). The current one, a New Nintendo 3DS I had since February 2015 -its launch date- had a few stability issues that didn’t allow me to play with confidence.

After getting it and charging the battery, I started the System Transfer process from console to console, so to preserve the data of almost 5 years of Street Pass, mini games and a few digital games I acquired -among them the original 3DS Ambassador Program games and the Sega 3D Classics.


To my surprise, the System Transfer process would not finish; I got the error code 005-5964. At the moment I thought it could be a network connection error and left the consoles to keep charging. Afterwards, I got the same result, so I searched for the error message on the Internet to know how to proceed. The quick search didn’t give me a cause, but a possible solution: to contact Nintendo directly by phone.

The following morning I dialed Customer Support and got answered in my native Spanish even though it’s a long distance number in the US. After a nice greeting, handing my personal data and describing the error, I was told nothing could be done via telephone, that it was necessary to give them my e-mail address to be contacted that way and continue the process. Then I got the following e-mail:
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 2015 07:23:57 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.********.***>
Subject: Error Code 005-5964 [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. Please visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.



Response (11/29/2015 07:22 AM)
Hola,

Gracias por contactarnos. El código de error que aparece en tu consola se debe a que tu acceso a la Nintendo eShop ha sido restringido. Esto ocurre cuando se realizan compras no autorizadas en una consola, generalmente utilizando una tarjeta de crédito provista por terceros para añadir fondos o para realizar compras.

Si esto es lo que te sucedió, necesitaremos que respondas a este mensaje con la siguiente información:

• El número de serie completo de tu consola
• Fecha de compra de la consola
• Tu identificador de Nintendo Network (NNID); favor de no incluir la contraseña
• La(s) página(s) de internet que utilizaste para realizar compras
• La(s) dirección(es) electrónica(s) de quienes te vendieron elcontenido
• La(s) dirección(es) física(s) donde compraste contenido
• Cómo hallaste al vendedor de este contenido
• Fecha(s) en que compraste el contenido

Asimismo incluye tu información de contacto en caso de que sea necesario conversar contigo vía telefónica:
• Tu nombre completo
• Teléfono de casa
• Teléfono celular
• Ciudad, país
• Fecha de nacimiento

Si los datos que nos proporcionas nos ayudan a continuar investigando esta situación, y a prevenir que otros aficionados como tú sean afectados, consideraremos levantar la restricción. De otra manera, la restricción permanecerá.

De antemano agradecemos tu asistencia en este asunto.

Atentamente,

Nintendo ofAmerica Inc.

[e-mail translation:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting us. The error code you got in your console is because your access to the Nintendo eShop has been restricted. This occurs when there are unauthorized purchases in a console, generally using a credit card provided by third parties to add funds or purchasing.

It this is what happened to you, we’ll need you to respond this message with the following information:

<PERSONAL DATA>
]
This message really surprised me. As many of you know, it’s my personal decision and conviction not to consume digital goods regularly, so I tried to recall what it could be. I remembered a related incident, when my good friend Pablo gave me a Humble Bundle code (for the Wii U game BIT.TRIP Runner 2) some months before. My friend was in the middle of a long trip and it took some time to get in touch to verify the origin of the code he gave me. I responded to the e-mail along with the personal data they required:
Customer By CSS Email (11/29/2015 01:12 PM)

Personalmente no he comprado fuera de la tienda de Nintendo, pero un amigo me regaló un código. Hoy lo cuestioné con respecto al origen
del código, y fue por un Humble Bundle. Sólo he revisado en mi 3ds,
no sé si ésto afecte también a mi Wii U.

> • La(s) página(s) de internet que utilizaste para realizar compras
Via un amigo, Your Humble Bundle, Inc. receipt [#XXXX-XXXX-XXXX] May 26, 2015 (order id XXXXXXXXXXXXX)
Thank you for purchasing Humble Nindie Bundle presented by Nintendo eShop!

> • Cómo hallaste al vendedor de este contenido
https://www.humblebundle.com/

> • Fecha(s) en que compraste el contenido
May 26, 2015 (order id XXXXXXXXXXXXX)

[email translation:

Personally I didn’t buy anything outside Nintendo’s shop, but a friend gave me a code as a gift. I asked about the origin of that code and it’s from a Humble Bundle. I only checked my 3DS, I don’t know if this also affects my Wii U.

<PURCHASE DATA>

]
I got the following response the next day:
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 08:05:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.********.***>
Subject: Error Code 005-5964 [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested personal assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. To update your question with additional information, please reply to this email.

Visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.

Response By Email (11/30/2015 08:05 AM)
Hola Artemio,

Gracias por tu respuesta. En este caso, debido a que recibiste contenido digital por medio de un amigo, te pedimos responder a este mensaje adjuntando la conversación completa con él (si conversaste con tu amigo por mensajes de texto, red social, etc.), donde la fecha y el título/código del juego sean visibles.

Asimismo, por favor explica detalladamente y cronológicamente como añadiste los fondos a tu cuenta de la Nintendo eShop.

Aguardamos tu respuesta.

Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.


[email translation:

Hello Artemio,

Thanks for your response. In this case, because you got digital content from a friend, we must ask you to respond to this message attaching the full conversation with him (if you talked with your friend over text messaging, social network, etc.), where the date, title and code are visible.

Furthermore, please explain with detail and chronologically how you added funds to your Nintendo eShop account.

We await for your reply.

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.

]
I responded the following, trusting the information would be enough:
Customer (11/30/2015 09:11 AM)
Hola que tal,

Claro que sí, aquí está una copia en texto de la conversación y
adjunto imágenes de la misma en la aplicación
utilizada:


Asimismo incluyo otras dos imágenes del recibo de la transacción de mi amigo:


Con respecto a como añadí los fondos, fue algún tiempo después. No
ocurrió de inmediato. La verdad es que tenía tiempo sin prender el
wii u, fue un tiempo después que no sabría cuantificar que me
conecté, actualicé la consola y agregué el código en la eshop.

Saludos cordiales

Artemio



[e-mail translation:
Hello,

Of course, here’s a copy of the text from the conversation and images of it directly from the application:

<CONVERSATION>

I also added two more images of the transaction receipt from my friend:

<RECEIPT IMAGES>

Regarding how I added funds, it was sometime later. I didn’t add any immediately. In truth, I didn’t have the time to use my Wii U, I wouldn’t be able to say when I connected, updated the console and claimed the code in the eShop.

Greetings,
Artemio

]
Then, I received response a week later:
Date: Tue, 8 Dec 2015 07:49:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.********.***>
Subject: Error Code 005-5964 [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. Please visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.



Response (12/08/2015 07:49 AM)
Hola Artemio,

Por razones fuera de nuestro control, no hemos podido responder a tu mensaje en forma oportuna. Pedimos disculpas por la demora y apreciamos la oportunidad de ayudarte.

Gracias por responder. Desafortunadamente, no aceptamos capturas de pantalla de teléfonos móviles, o imágenes recortadas o modificadas. Por esta razón pido que por favor respondas a este mensaje con nuevas capturas de pantalla de la conversación completa. Asegúrate que la fecha exacta se vea claramente en cada captura.

Esperamos tu respuesta.

Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.


[email translation:

Hi Artemio,

Because of reasons out of our control, we couldn’t answer your message in due time. We apologize for the late response and appreciate the opportunity to help you.

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, we don’t accept screen shots from mobile phones or trimmed/modified images. For this reason, I ask you to respond to this message with new screen captures of the full conversation. Make sure the exact date is show in every capture.

We await for your reply.

Yours,
Nintendo of America

]
I took a deep breath after the illogical nature of this policy, but I complied and captured screen shots of the same conversation from my PC:
Customer By CSS Email (12/08/2015 09:12 AM)
Hola que tal, aquí las capturas de pantalla completa desde mi PC.

Cabe resaltar que la aplicación sólo pone la fecha en el cambio de
día, y eso se aprecia en la primer captura FullScreen1.png:

Copio nuevamente los recibos de pago de mi amigo:

Saludos

Artemio

[email translation:

Hello, here are the full screen captures from my PC.

It’s important to say the application only displays date information when changing days, and you can see that in the first capture:

<SCREEN SHOTS>

Again, here are my friend’s receipt:

<RECEIPT>

Greetings,
Artemio
]
Some days after that:
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2015 08:41:10 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.nintendo.com>
Subject: Error Code 005-5964 [Incident: 151129-000230]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested personal assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. To update your question with additional information, please reply to this email.

Visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.

Response By Email (12/11/2015 08:41 AM)
Hola Artemio,

Gracias por tu respuesta. Por razones fuera de nuestro control no hemos podido responder a tu mensaje en forma oportuna y pedimos disculpas por la demora.

En este caso, para poder proseguir, también necesitaremos saber como añadiste fondos a tu cuenta de la Nintendo eShop.

Aguardamos tu respuesta.

Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.

[email translation:

Hello Artemio,

Thanks for your response. Because of reasons out of our control, we couldn’t answer your message in due time. We apologize for the late response.

In this case, to continue the process, we also need how you you added funds to your Nintendo eShop account.

We await for your reply,

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.
]
Up to this point, I had time to think more clearly about the situation. I remembered Pablo had given me another game using his credit card personally using my console, because I refuse to acquire digital goods and he was very eager to share one with me. Until now, Nintendo asked me more data about the Humble Bundle purchase, without mentioning causes or specific violations to policy.

It’s important to emphasize that both my New N3DS and my Wii U were ‘banned’ without access to Nintendo’s eShop or my purchase history so to verify dates or payments (additionally, Nintendo doesn’t send notifications of every transaction, this information is exclusively on the application’s own History section)

With the above information, I proceeded to explain the payments:
Customer By CSS Email (12/11/2015 03:26 PM)
Hola que tal,

He añadido fondos principalmente con tarjeta de débito/crédito
personal. Del banco ****** terminación XXX y YYY . En una sola ocasión, mi mismo amigo Pablo usó su tarjeta en mi sistema Wii U para adquirir un título y jugarlo juntos. Su terminación es ZZZ , también del banco *******.

Las primeras tarjetas están a mi nombre y la
última al suyo: Pablo XXXXXX

Artemio

[email translation:
Hello,

I added funds primarily using personal debit/credit cards. Bank ****** and ending in XXXX and YYYY. Just once, my friend Pablo used his credit card in my Wii U system to acquire a title and play together. His card ends in ZZZZ, also from bank ******

First two cards are on my name and the latter on his name: Pablo XXXXXXXX

Artemio

]
And got the following answer:
Response By Email (12/15/2015 04:11 PM)
Hola Artemio,

En este caso será requerido conversar telefónicamente contigo y con tu amigo Pablo. Por esta razón, pedimos que envíes los datos de contacto de tu amigo (nombre completo, número de celular y fijo, ciudad y mejor hora diaria para contactarle).


Aguardamos tu respuesta.


Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.

[email translation:

Hello Artemio,

In this case, we require to talk to you and your friend Pablo by phone. Because of this, we ask you to send your friend’s contact information (full name, mobile and home number, city and best time to call during the day)

We await for your reply,

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.

]
By this time, 16 days had passed after the initial contact and Pablo was still abroad. We got in touch again so that Nintendo could contact him directly via international long distance.
Customer By CSS Email (12/15/2015 06:56 PM)
Hola que tal,

Los datos de mi amigo son:

Nombre completo: Pablo XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX
Número de celular: XXXXXXXXX
Ciudad: México, está de viaje pero ya le avisé de su llamada.
Mejor hora diaria para contactarle: 7am a 2pm

Mis datos

Nombre completo: Artemio XXXXXX XXXXXX
Número de celular: YYYYYYYY
Mejor hora diaria para contactarle: 10am a 10pm

Artemio

[email translation:

Hello,

My friend’s contact information is the following:

<PERSONAL DATA>

Artemio

]
Three days after, they confirmed the email:
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 2015 15:45:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.*******.***>
Subject: Acerca de tu contacto reciente con Nintendo [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested personal assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. To update your question with additional information, please reply to this email.

Visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.

Response By Email (12/18/2015 03:45 PM)
Hola Artemio,

Gracias por responder y proveer los detalles requeridos. He remitido tu información a nuestros expertospara que te contacten tan pronto les sea posible.

Apreciamos tu paciencia y comprensión.

Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.


[email translation:

Thanks for responding and providing the required data. I have passed your information along to our experts for them to contact you as soon as possible.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.

]
Some time after the email, they sent me a Customer Satisfaction Survey:
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2016 16:08:36 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Customer Service <*******@***.********.***>
Subject: Nintendo Customer Satisfaction Survey
To: *******@********.***

Help us improve! We'd love to hear about your recent experience with Nintendo Consumer Service.
Our survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete and your feedback will help us improve our service to you.
Click here to take this survey.
The survey is best experienced in the most recent version of your favorite browser.
Thank you,
Nintendo Consumer Support
The following steps were conducted by phone. We talked in December 24th and told me they needed the complete list of credit cards used previously, because none of my personal numbers matched.

They also let me know someone else used a different card with my console, so I concluded the Humble Bundle deal was not the cause of my situation; but at the same time they couldn’t give me any additional info about it. After complaining about my unfair position, they directed me to the Terms and Conditions I agreed to from my own console.

Weeks after that, Pablo and I called together from Mexico. This time they just asked fot the credit card numbers and said they would call back later.

After some more days, I got the following email:

Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:33:31 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.********.***>
Subject: Acerca de tu contacto reciente con Nintendo [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. Please visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.



Response (01/12/2016 02:33 PM)
Hola,

Por favor llámanos para hablar acerca del asunto sobre el cual contactaste a Nintendo recientemente. Comprendemos que tu tiempo es importante, por esta razón por favor llámanos al XX-X-XXX-XXX-XXXX. Nuestra línea bilingüe está abierta de 7 a.m. a 4 p.m. los siete días de la semana en el Horario Pacífico. (GMT -8 horas). Recuerda que estarás llamando a los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica y a esta llamada se aplicará tarifa telefónica internacional.

Cuando llames, por favor provee el siguiente número de referencia:

XXXXXX-XXXXXX

Por favor toma en cuenta que si no recibimos noticias tuyas dentro de los próximos 7 días hábiles (21 de Enero 2016), consideraremos este asunto resuelto.

Atentamente,

Nintendo of America Inc.


[e-mail translation:

Hello,

Please call us to talk about the issue you contacted Nintendo recently for. We understand your time is important, so please call us at XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Our bilingual line is open from 7 AM to 4 PM PST (GMT -8) all seven days of the week. Remember you’ll be calling the United States of America and this call will incur into international long distance fees.

When you call, please give the following reference nunber:

XXXXXX-XXXXXX

Please be aware that if we don’t receive a call from you in the next 7 days (January 21st 2016), we’ll consider this issue solved.

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.

]
While calling, the support agent had to get up to date reading our email history and annotations in their own system, asking me to wait them to verify whether there were additional steps needed on either side.

After ten minutes spent on-hold in an international long distance call, I was informed the case was now on their side, and that they wold extend the time limit while they took action. I said thanks and hanged up to wait for the next step.

A few days later, finally I got the following e-mail:
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2016 08:32:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Nintendo Support <********@***.********.***>
Subject: Call early Morning. [Incident: ******-******]
To: *******@********.***

Recently you requested assistance from our support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. Please visit our Consumer Support page to get answers to all of your support questions.

Response By Email (01/25/2016 08:32 AM)
Hola,

Gracias por esperar pacientemente una respuesta a tu situación. Dada la información que nos proporcionaste, lamentablemente no nos será posible levantar la restricción a tu consola.

Entiendo que esta no es la respuesta que esperabas, y ciertamente apreciamos tu comprensión en este asunto. Puedes obtener más información acerca del Contrato de licencia del usuario final para tu consola, al seleccionar el enlace correspondiente que pertenezca a tu consola:

Wii U: http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/info/e ... eula-agree

Familia de consolas de Nintendo 3DS: http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/info/e ... r-doc-eula

Atentamente,
Nintendo of America Inc.

[email translation:

Hello,

Thanks for waiting patiently a response to your situation. Given the information you shared, unfortunately it will not be possible to lift the restrictions to your console.

We understand this is not the response you were waiting for, and certainly appreciate your understanding in this matter. You can get more information about the End User License Agreement for your console, using the links corresponding to your console:

<LINKS>

Yours,
Nintendo of America, Inc.
]
Without knowing more information from their side, I can assume some things: It appears that the credit card in question (borrowed by Pablo) was canceled. Probably the charge was not recognized afterwards and that triggered the ‘ban’ to my two consoles (Wii U and 3DS) and to my two Nintendo Network accounts associated to them. During the calls we mentioned we could just cover the 2 dollars charge for the game but they replied there was nothing to be done and that they would call back. It’s important to stress they didn’t give any additional information that could confirm whether the card used was cancelled.

Without knowing the reasons, I could deduce this information was denied under the suspicion that the credit card was stolen or used in my Wii U without permission; this policy would apply with the objective of protecting the original owner of the credit card, but it’s excessive in this case.

Yes, I could say it was my mistake to allow someone else to use their card in my console. Being more cynical, my mistake was to allow someone to consume digital goods in my console. But talking about digital goods is not limited to games; this includes the consoles firmware, something related directly to the hardware.

Ironically, I didn’t update my Wii U before the launch of Super Smash Bros. -the same game that triggered a firmware licensing change-. Before that I kept my console without constant Internet connection precisely because I speculated this very situation could happen. However, while inviting friends, they brought a physical copy of Super Smash Bros. and we played it. During this process, the console firmware got updated and the licensing changed, thus all these new policies that put a legitimate consumer in disadvantage, applied.

We can conclude some things from this and it’s important to emphasize this situation in no ways is limited to Nintendo. The judge and executioner who acts without even asking or trying to clarify afterwards is present in many digital goods licensing:

1) All current console software including games, firmware and the one who grants access to services, can be blocked through or by the lack of a constant Internet connection.
2) You’re consuming a service. No digital good is your personal property and therefore it’s subject to the service provider’s control.
3) Usage policies evidently put the service provider at the helm. You as a consumer accept them by using the software and are abide to the rules.
4) It’s clear that if you use codes or credit cards from third parties, you are exposed to potential consequences. However, the risks in these policies also apply to your own cards. The morale of that is if you are acquiring digital goods and want to be sure, you may only use prepaid cards.

Today (January 25th 2016), Pablo and I will try to get in contact with Nintendo again to try to clarify and revert the decision, but I don’t expect any change. To give more detail about what was lost, I have more than 5000 Street Passes I got from trips, press and community events, the hundreds of hours spent in the related mini games, the digital content and games, access to the eShop from my 3DS and Wii U, two Nintendo Network accounts associated with the consoles, access to patches for any game I choose to get physically, including access to free content like the Xenoblade Chronicles X Data Packs to optimize the game.

The consoles still work partially offline without the access to patches or services. Of course, my previous New N3DS is still faulty; the brand new one without being used because I failed to transfer my account and data.

Evidently, the control one company has over digital goods is not limited to Nintendo, but includes Steam, Sony and Microsoft. Any of these providers is in the capacity to revoke the license to a digital good without notice. Furthermore, said license is tied to the continuous service reconnection or renewal.

My objective in sharing is to narrate the events in my own experience so that others can avoid the same thing and raise conscience about the terms and conditions they accept while consuming digital goods.

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