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Microsoft Helps Out Battlefield Dad

| 17 Mar 2011 21:44

The man who found himself stuck with a copy of Battlefield 1943 that his son couldn't play finally got a happy ending and a way to ensure that he won't run into the same problem again in the future.

Thomas Wetzel, you may recall, ran into some grief with Electronic Arts and Microsoft when he purchased a copy of Battlefield 1943 for his nine-year-old son so the two could play together online, only to find out that the game couldn't be used on the boy's child account on Xbox Live. Things got stickier when EA trundled out its "no refund" policy; the actual amount of money involved was relatively tiny but you can't put a price on principle.

After horsing around for awhile, Wetzel made a blog post describing his troubles and linked it to @xboxsupport on Twitter, which responded quickly but said, at first, that there was nothing to be done. After a little more pushing, however, somebody asked him to forward the two Gamertags involved, and then the wheels started to turn.

A Microsoft support rep named Davey called Wetzel the next day and gave him a refund for the points he spent on the game, but he also went above and beyond the call of duty by coming up with a way to make sure this nonsense wouldn't crop up again. He confirmed that Microsoft cannot alter the ages on Xbox Live accounts but told him to create a new account, after which he'd send him codes equivalent to the time left on his current Gold subscription to add to it.

It's not a perfect solution - Wetzel's not looking forward to replaying the hard missions of Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis - but aside from that, he says it's just about exactly what he was after. And yes, he used the refunded points to re-buy Battlefield 1943 for the new account so after all this, he'll finally get to play the game with his son.

"A couple of the commenters on The Escapist piece cracked me up. They were applauding my decision to be involved in my kid's hobby," he wrote. "Little do they know I'm dragging the poor kid into *my* hobby. I've been a gamer since I first got an Atari 2600 back in the day, and now I'm passing along the terrible tradition to my son."

He also said he was surprised by the number of users who felt he shouldn't be given a refund because the BF1943 terms and conditions make it clear that players must be at least 13 years old. A screenshot posted by mjc0961 originally made him feel like "an idiot" until he redownloaded the game on the new account and realized just how deep the warning is buried. He even created a quickie YouTube video to make his point and although the notification isn't hidden away under 47 pages of microscopic text, let's be honest about it - nobody ever reads the T&C anyway and slapping a potentially crippling restriction like this in there isn't exactly playing fair.

In any event, it's a happy ending for the Wetzel boys and I'm glad to see them get it. Way to stick it to the man, guys!

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