After nearly a year’s absence, I have graciously returned to owning an Xbox 360. Halo 4 proved to be too strong a gravitational force a gamer like me: a day one Halo owner who read the books, put thousands of hours in the series, who once had 14 other people over for a LAN party.
The experience in re-obtaining the system was quite an adventure in its own right. I opted to buy it through Microsoft’s contract option. Yes, I realize that you end up paying more over the long haul, but I also realize that I didn’t have a lot of up front capital to commit. Plus, I rather like this approach to selling game consoles, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. It seems to me that consoles are moving more toward Entertainment Services anyway, so why limit themselves to one specific piece of hardware? Xbox Live should be their next ‘console’, not Xbox 720.
I visited Best Buy, GameStop, and Walmart looking for signs pointing me in the right direction. None of them really had it as a focus though. My experience at Best Buy specifically was mixed. It took half an hour before they could find anyone to talk to me about the deal and even he wasn’t very well trained on the matter. I asked specifically if they had the 250gb HDD Xbox 360 option in stock, since I didn’t want to get a Kinect. He told me they didn’t, so I left saddened.
After Gamestop and Walmart failed to produce any results, I went home and tried to go through the process over the internet. The new Twilight movie kept me really busy working at the movie theatre this weekend, so I was committing the cardinal sin of shopping while exhausted.
I decided to go with Toys-R-Us. The Xbox.com website for the deal mentioned them as one of the few retailers who also had the deal. However, I misread that Toys-R-Us ONLY offers the Kinect version, so I ended up signing a contract for the wrong system. I spent a few hours on the phone with Xbox Live Support and Toys-R-Us support, but no one had been trained on this specific contract enough to understand what I was liable for. After all, Microsoft had my social security number and credit card, but I hadn’t bought or activated anything. I am still waiting to see if that bites me in the ass.
After doing more research, I found out that Best Buy offers a few extra options for the contract. Instead of just a 250gb HDD and a console, they also let you get the Holiday bundled version with Forza 4 and Skyrim. Apparently the representative that had helped me didn’t know this, thus the “we’re all out of stock” answer to my query. Lacking patience or any other local options, I went back to Best Buy with a print out of their website and bought it there.
It’s only been a little been, but I am honestly really happy so far. Halo 4 is brilliantly good fun and everything they’ve done to Xbox Live since I last used it has served to make it infinitely more functional and easy on the eyes. The Xbox 360 may be on its way out, but there is still a lot of fun and value in it left to mine.
If anyone wants to friend me, my gamertag is ‘The Murfin Man’. Please leave a message referring to my blog when you do though.