Late night XBLA question

This post is more than 2 years old.

I've got an XBox Live Arcade game that was purchased a while ago. After transferring it to the new XBox Elite hard drive, it shows up as a trial game. When I go to purchase it, it says I already own it (true), it offers to redownload, but even after it does, the game sticks in trial mode. Anyone seen this before?

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by AUS Ferrari posted on 12/5/2007 at 2:07 PM

You need to contact MS Support to have the download attributed to your new console (possible via the serial number).

Hope that helps.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/5/2007 at 5:23 PM

Figured I'd have to call. -sigh-

Get this:

I picked another XBLA game that I owned - it runs w/ no problem.

In the game with the probem, if I do the purchase route, tell it to redownload, and then hit Continue, my game will be Full, not trial. When I quit and restart, it goes back to trial.

Comment 3 by Tim Fitzpatrick posted on 12/5/2007 at 7:21 PM

You may need to be logged in to your live account to play the full version. I had a similar problem.

It's a known and glaring weakness of their purchase system. If you buy something, it ties it to the serial # and the profile you used when you purchased the item.

If you're on the 360 with the serial # matching, you can play the game without being logged in to LIVE, and anyone else with a different profile can also play it on your 360 without logging in.

If you change the serial (switch to a different 360), purchased content will only work when logged in to LIVE with the account under which it was purchased.

Comment 4 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/5/2007 at 7:23 PM

@Tim: Jeeze. This seems like something that should have been fixed a while ago. Maybe a 'reactivate' type option that would deactivate the license on the old serial.

Comment 5 by John Wise posted on 12/5/2007 at 7:56 PM

Welcome to the wonderful world of Xbox Live DRM! We've been asking for a fix to this problem since launch, when it was first discovered.

A little more detail: If you replace your console for any reason, only the gamertag which purchased it can use that content, and only when you're logged into Xbox Live. If you're not logged in or aren't using the gamertag which purchased the content, your games will run in trial mode. Every other type of content (themes, gamerpics, movies, TV shows, etc.) will be unavailable, period. Also, some DLC does not work consistently even when you are logged in.

Here's a long-running thread on the forums ( which has been going since shortly after the launch of the 360, with no resolution. We were hoping that this week's dashboard update would address it, but it did not. Microsoft considers this a "minor" issue, even though it affects thousands, or possibly millions, of its customers due to defective hardware and a draconian DRM system.

Comment 6 by DanaK posted on 12/5/2007 at 8:04 PM

Probably has nothing to do with it but that big xbox live fall update messed up a lot of stuff. I couldn't play nhl 08 or cod4 online reliably at all last night

Comment 7 by Raymond Camden posted on 12/5/2007 at 8:10 PM

It's funny - I didn't notice the update at first. I thought it was a normal post-setup thing for my Elite (just got it). So far I'm not terribly impressed - although I do like how XBLA and Demos are all found in one place.

Comment 8 by Troy Allen posted on 12/5/2007 at 9:02 PM

Same here...MAJOR problems getting connected to XBL Multiplayer games on COD4 ever since the Dashboard update was applied. Talking to others in voice chat on the few occasions that I did get into a game confirmed that it is a universal problem. Sure hope they either update the update, or the COD4 team posts a patch.

Comment 9 by Mike Benner posted on 12/5/2007 at 9:30 PM


I had the same problem after sending one of my 360's back with Red Ring of Death. They SWEAR to me that it will be resolved within the month and to be patient, but my experience from friends that MS actually has to issue a new credit to a dummy account for the games to be reactivated. As far as I am aware, nothing you can do with the new hard drive, which is why I have yet to upgrade to that hard drive.

Comment 10 by John Wise posted on 12/5/2007 at 9:51 PM


You can change hard drives & memory cards all you want. The problem is that the licensing information (gamertag & console ID) is stored in the content itself, which is then checked against the gamertag and console ID when you try to use it. If either one doesn't match, the content won't work until you login with a gamertag that's authorized for that content.

Even if you were willing to re-purchase that content, you'd have to do it with a new gamertag because your gamertag already "owns" it. Now, imagine how unmanageable this can become when you've had to do this two or three times. I'm on 360 #5 since launch, so I don't need to imagine...

This is, by far, the worst DRM system I've ever had the misfortune of dealing with.