So one of our contributing editors, Matt Jones, ran into a problem while doing his Halo 4 review. He finished the campaign and wanted to test out the multiplayer portions of the game. Since he doesn’t pay for gold, he had to use the 14 Day Xbox Live Gold Trial that came with the game. Anyone who’s turned in one of the 48hr Xbox Live Gold codes knows that you get FULL access to the Gold membership for 48hrs. This has always been the case. Unfortunately for Matt, his 14 Day code was only for Halo 4. It gets even worse. Matt called and talked to Microsoft Xbox tech support. During the call he found out that the 14 Day code gives you partial Gold access. So while he could play Halo 4 online, he couldn’t do Spartan Ops. This whole conversation is documented below. The customer service reps name has been taken out to protect them. And just so you get supreme laughter out of this read, you should know that Matt does really dress up in his Ninja gear and dive over bushes at night.
One of the highlights: Clearing system cache must be done 3 times. I asked why one time wasn’t good enough and was told, “you are correct logically it would make sense to only do it once… but we have found the secret trick which is not logical at all seems to do the trick”
Please wait for an agent to respond. You are currently ‘51’ in the queue.
(It took about one hour to work my way to ‘1’ in the queue)
You are now chatting with ‘XXXXXX’.
XXXXXX: Hello, thank you for contacting Xbox Customer Support. My name is XXXXXX. Please give me a moment to review your question.
XXXXXX: Hi Matt, how are you doing today? I do appreciate you waiting for so long for an agent, I do apologize for the delay. Thank you for being so patient! :D
Matt: I’m doing fine, gave me time to shower and all that. How are you doing today?
XXXXXX: I am glad to hear that you are doing fine, I am doing terrific thank you so much for asking. I certainly don’t like to hear that you are having an issue accessing your free trial. I would be happy to look into this for you.
XXXXXX: If you could provide me the code I would be happy to look up the status.
XXXXXX: Thank you so much Matt, let me take a moment to look this up for you.
XXXXXX: I do see here that it was redeemed properly. What game did you get the free trial with?
Matt: Halo 4. I just activated it 2-3 days ago
XXXXXX: That is a great game!! I love it. When you try to access the Halo 4 multiplayer are you getting an error message?
Matt: I haven’t tried. I just logged on to XBox Live this morning and saw that I was a free account. I then checked on xbox.com and confirmed it. When I first activated the code, I got a message about being a 10 year subscriber (I have been off and on with Gold since I first joined in 2002)
Matt: the dashboard changed to the ‘Gold’ version when I first activated the code, now it’s back to the ‘free’ version
XXXXXX: The trial subscription will not show as a valid Gold subscription. It will only allow you access to the Halo 4. It will give you limited access to the Gold features.
Matt: interesting. everything behaved like a Gold account, including having the ability to get discounts on Gold only promotions
XXXXXX: It just doesn’t show as a Gold account on the website or the console. It can be a bit confusing.
Matt: there is no indication from the code card or anywhere else that the trial version of Gold is any different from having a Gold subscription, just like if someone bought one month access instead of one year. that’s not right
XXXXXX: I do agree that the card is not clear on what is available… let’s make sure you can access the Halo 4 multiplayer.
Matt: I am not able to, just tried. whenever I have used a Gold code before, be it for 48 hours or 1 month or even 12 months, my tenure is never at 0 years (like it is right now) and my membership status is not ‘Free’ (it always reads as Gold, regardless of how brief my access to Gold is)
XXXXXX: Let’s do some maintenance on your Xbox console to make sure that there is nothing going on there.
XXXXXX: Do you know how much free space you have available on your Hard Drive or Memory Unit?
Matt: 188GB free
XXXXXX: Sometimes corrupt data can cause this type of error. Let’s see if this is the issue.
XXXXXX: To look for corrupt files follow these steps:
XXXXXX: Step 1) Push the middle button on the controller.
XXXXXX: Step 2) Go to settings
XXXXXX: Step 3) Go to System settings
XXXXXX: Step 4) Select Storage
XXXXXX: Step 5) Select your Hard Drive
XXXXXX: Step 6) Choose the Games & Apps folder
XXXXXX: Step 7) Look for any games that have an Exclamation point next to them or they might say unknown.
XXXXXX: **** If you play any of the following games lets look in those folders: Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops, Call of Duty, or Gears of War 3. ***
XXXXXX: You will want to delete any corrupt files.. ** Do not delete any unknown profiles.. that is a different issue**
Matt: I can’t stand any of those games except Gears 3 and none of the games in my hdd have an ! next to them
XXXXXX: Perfect!! Let’s press B and go back and look for the Gamer Profile folder. Look in this folder for your profile and let’s make sure it does not show corrupt.
Matt: everything is fine there too
XXXXXX: While we are here we will want to delete your profile. You will want to be sure to choose to delete the profile only. We do not want to delete all items.. that will affect your game saves if you do.
XXXXXX: This will help to reset the data on your profile and hopefully correct the issue you are seeing. Let’s press B again to go back to your hard drive. And we will clear the system cache. I will provide you the steps. The trick here is to do it three times..
XXXXXX: Step 1) Once at your hard drive please push “Y”
XXXXXX: Step 2) Select clear the system cache
XXXXXX: Step 3) Select"A” to perform system maintenance.
XXXXXX: Once that is complete we will need to clear the system cache again. Please follow the previous steps 1-3
Matt: delete my account and clear the cache? I’m fine with deleting my profile and the downloading it again, but deleting my cache will delete all the dlc I’ve downloaded for every game
XXXXXX: No it will not delete all your DLC for your games… it will only delete any possible stuck memory or corrupt game updates.
Matt: I thought that by finding there were no games with an exclamation mark next to them assured nothing was corrupt
XXXXXX: That is not a guarantee of no corrupt data. Sometimes you can have corrupt data even without the exclamation point. The system cache is hidden so you can’t check for corrupt files. It is like a buffer in the memory to speed up games.
XXXXXX: If the game does not get shut down properly it can cause stuck memory.
Matt: I will attempt this cache clearing, but I’m pretty sure there’s just something wrong with the XBL account losing my trial code data or something. I just don’t see how clearing cache and all that would change my account status, but I’ll try it
XXXXXX: When that is complete we will need to remove any game discs and turn off your console and unplug it for one full minute.
XXXXXX: Again this is to drain all power from the system.
XXXXXX: This will help to clear any possible stuck memory.
Matt: why is it that you must perform cache clearing three times? why doesn’t it handle everything the first time?
XXXXXX: That is a really great question.. you are correct logically it would make sense to only do it once… but we have found the secret trick which is not logical at all seems to do the trick.
Matt: secret trick, eh? that’s interesting and disturbing all at once
XXXXXX: It is disturbing.. because it is not logical at all.
XXXXXX: Once you turn on your console…. go ahead and download your profile and let’s see if this has resolved your issue.
Matt: ok, I really hope this works because it’s killing me to not have resolution regarding the mechanism of how three times clearing cache is the secret trick. hang on
XXXXXX: I can certainly understand.
Matt: I actually did it four times (lost count), so I hope that doesn’t mess it up
XXXXXX: Oh no… that will really mess up the logic. (just joking)
XXXXXX: You should be fine.
Matt: I appreciate your humor. I like to take risks sometimes.
XXXXXX: Taking risks is a good thing that is how we learn.
Matt: while I’m waiting for a minute to go by, do you know why the avatar above the ‘send’ button is some random person? it would be rewarding for chat users to see their own avatar while chatting (or your avatar, if you have an XBL account)
XXXXXX: That is a terrific idea!! That would be great for you to see your own avatar and for you to be able to see ours. Let me get you a link so that you can submit that to our developers.
Matt: I decided to be a bit saucy after clearing my cache 4 times instead of 3, so I left the XBox unplugged for over 2 minutes! powering it back up now
XXXXXX: Always better to be safe then sorry.
Matt: downloading account now
XXXXXX: Which might take awhile I see you have an impressive gamerscore.
XXXXXX: Click here for the Xbox Wishlist
XXXXXX: This is the forums where you can post your feedback and things that would help to improve your experience.
XXXXXX: They really like to hear ideas.
Matt: haha hardly. I just play games I like plus I take care of my health, as I don’t wish to contribute to the obese population that is rapidly becoming a majority in this country
Matt: (assuming you are in the USA)
XXXXXX: It is a higher score then mine… I am only at 9000. Yes I am in the USA.
Matt: well good, it shows you have other interests, since you are probably pretty good at gaming
XXXXXX: I got the Kinect to help get me up and moving. I love it.
Matt: I downloaded my profile but everything the same. I’m about to jump out my window
XXXXXX: I would not say that I am good at gaming… I started old school where you sprayed and prayed. I am really bad at taking my time and aiming… I will admit I am a button masher.
XXXXXX: Oh.. please do not jump out the window.. that would not be healthy.
Matt: I did too, so I understand. gaming has helped me become a better massage therapist (my profession)
Matt: I’m not really going to jump out my window, but if I did, it would be more of a training exercise than a suicide attempt
XXXXXX: That is an awesome profession you get to help make a difference in so many other peoples lives.
XXXXXX: I really like your sense of humor.
XXXXXX: So you still cannot access the Halo 4 servers.
XXXXXX: What is the message it is giving you ?
Matt: just being honest. I like doing weird things like jumping out of windows and diving over bushes in the park
Matt: I cannot. let me find the error again
XXXXXX: That just means that you love and enjoy life. It is not weird at all… it only becomes weird if you are lurking. Hahaha
Matt: never, only if I had to take someone out who harmed a loved one or something like that
XXXXXX: This is true. :D
Matt: I have zero interest in playing Halo 4 online, but I feel responsible because I’m reviewing the game. gotta cover all aspects, especially since the campaign was over in 10 hours
XXXXXX: It was a short campaign.
Matt: better than the latest Medal of Honor. a friend finished it in 5 hours. unacceptable for a first play through
XXXXXX: Yes I agree.. I want to get my money’s worth and have it be challenging enough to last a while.
XXXXXX: Has anything else on your profile changed other then the tenure?
Matt: still has ‘Free’ next to it. I have to download/install some ridiculously large file to attempt multiplayer on Halo 4. sorry, will take a few
XXXXXX: Take your time.. it will still say Free. That is ok and part of the trial.
Matt: I need MS to send out those $1 for 1 month offers again
XXXXXX: They might be with the Holiday season coming up. It will show up on your dashboard if there are any specials or in your email.
Matt: I paid yearly for this service from 2002 until like 2009 or 2010. most people only got XBL when the 360 came out. maybe MS can ‘randomly’ choose me to have an unlimited lifetime Gold account as thanks?
XXXXXX: I do know that they are currently reviewing the accounts and will be sending out specials. They have not provided us the details of the account requirements or the items being sent out.
XXXXXX: The best thing to do is keep an eye on Major Nelson for updates.
Matt: all I got so far for being a 10 year customer was some download code for a whack ass helmet. that’s so lame!
Matt: ok, finally that disc installed. just a moment
XXXXXX: That is good that they recognize how long you have been a customer.. so many people are worried about the tenure setting.
Matt: well it’s not like I’m worried, as if I let it consume my thoughts when I’m away from the XBox. however, when I enabled this code, it did read “10 years”. anyhow
XXXXXX: I am not sure if they will be sending out any other items but I am glad that they recognized your status. That is something to be proud of .
Matt: not really. If I was proud of a silly thing like that, something is wrong.
Matt: however, if you did offer something worthwhile for being a 10 year customer instead of a crappy avatar helmet, I might have shared it with Facebook
XXXXXX: I am proud to be a gamer. It is not the top of my list but it is fun to get the little achievements.
XXXXXX: You never know that might only be the start there might be more… who knows… like I said we don’t have the details of what they are doing for the awards.
Matt: well being proud to be a gamer is not the same as being proud to be a customer of some business. I always talk about gaming, but never something like being a 10 year customer. if anything, I’d only seem lame since I was paying for a service I didn’t really use (I’d rather clean the cat box than play a game online)
XXXXXX: That is true Matt, I really don’t talk about being a customer either. Personally I do not like cleaning the cat box at all.. I would try to find some way to avoid that task. haha… I don’t play the online as much anymore.. I enjoy the campaigns and getting the achievements. I use the Gold subscription more for some of the other apps they have added like Netflix.
XXXXXX: Any luck with the multiplayer in Halo 4?
Matt: ok, so I’ve been testing some things. the competitive part of Halo 4 online seems to be ok, but Spartan Ops seems to be a problem (says I need Gold..). I’ve been reading online that other people have experienced this problem too
Matt: it loaded up Spartan Ops once, but then I was soon back in the menu
XXXXXX: That is great!! That means it is working. Let me get you some information… it is about the 48 hour trial codes but it also applies to the 14 day trial codes.
XXXXXX: On Friday, July 6th, Microsoft rebooted its servers to update and refresh them for better gameplay. Before this update, many 48 hour pass codes, which are only supposed to allow access for online gameplay for the specific game the code was included with, were allowed full access to Gold features. This update resolved the error, and now users who redeem 48 hour trial passes are only entitled to play the game with limited access associated with the code online.
Matt: what is that supposed to mean? there is no indication that this trial has limits like that. it’s a 14 day XBox Live Gold trial “Try XBox Live Gold For Free” it reads on top
XXXXXX: It is only a trial or a sample of the services… it is not meant to be used as a full Gold subscription.
XXXXXX: It is provided by the game publishers to give you a taste of what the Xbox Live Gold would provide.
Matt: so is the only game I can try out online Halo 4?
XXXXXX: Yes that is correct Matt, it is limited to the game it came with.
XXXXXX: I am so glad that your code is working and that we got this resolved for you. Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
Matt: well that is definitely a small taste, limiting online content even in that game. tastes like crap. I’m very disappointed in this misleading experience. my readers will know about this!