You don't buy the software, you buy the license.

This post is more than 2 years old.

As software companies love to remind us, we aren't really buying their software, we are buying a license to use their software. With that in mind, I've decided to test and see exactly how fair software companies are when it comes to enforcing this rule.

My son loves to play SpongeBob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. It is a great platformer for kids, and both my wife and I like playing it as well. Yesterday the game wouldn't load in my XBox. I took the disc out and saw that it had a large crack.

I wasn't allowed to make a backup of the game (numerous warnings exist on both the box and the disc itself), so I'm kinda screwed. But you would think, wouldn't you, that the company wouldn't mind sending me a new disc, with perhaps the cost of the blank media and shipping. The XBox uses (as far as I know) a DVD variant. A blank DVD costs a few bucks. With shipping, I'm thinking the total cost should be around 6 bucks.

The first problem I've run into is figuring out who to contact. Many companies are listed on the box itself: Microsoft, Nick Games, Heavy Iron Studios, RenderWare, and THQ. THQ seems to be the best bet since it's address is included on the box itsef, and seems to be mentioned most of the time.

So - here goes nothing. I'm going to contact THQ and see what I need to do to get a replacement disc. I'm going into this with the best of intentions and assuming the company will be happy to help me. (Really.)

I'll post more as things develop.

Here is the text I sent to the THQ via their support form (|38404.329525463):

My game disc has become cracked. I don't believe it was my fault, but as I have three kids, one of them may have gotten to it. I'd like to know how I can get a replacement disc. As you know, customers are not allowed to make a backup of software so the game now is unplayable. I'd be more than willing to send in the broken disc and pay for the cost of replacement media and shipping. Please let me know how to proceed.

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Rob Brooks-Bilson posted on 2/21/2005 at 10:39 PM

Ray, not really related, but you might want to shoot over to and make sure your xBox isn't one of the ones being recalled for potentially faulty power cord. I checked the other day, and mine was, so I signed up for a new cord through their site.

Comment 2 by Ryan Guill posted on 2/22/2005 at 1:41 AM

Ray, thq only handles audio on the game, its like dolby surround or something. I doubt they will be able to help. I would imagine nick games would be the one to contact. Very interested on how this turns out though!

Comment 3 by Boyzoid posted on 2/22/2005 at 1:59 AM

We recently had to return a Game Cube game because it ceased to function. It looked like there was a pretty good scratch in it. Nintendo gave me an RMA number, I took the disc to FedEx Kinko's, gave them the number, they shipped out at no charge. About 3 weeks later, I had a new disc.

Let's hope your experience is as uneventful.

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 2/22/2005 at 4:09 AM

Ryan - I'm not sure I agree with you. When I went to THQ, they had a full support site for a large number of games. An audio-only company wouldn't have that. In fact, they also seem to sell wireless gear.

Comment 5 by Ryan Guill posted on 2/22/2005 at 5:11 AM

Oh okay, I might be confused on the company. Hope that it works out!

Comment 6 by Ryan Guill posted on 2/22/2005 at 8:24 AM

I figured out what I was talking about, I was thinking about thx, not thq. Sorry for the mixup.