…And I Thought Things With Ghosts Were Bad At Launch

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, The Ghost, 1881

It’s Friday night.  This is usually the big social night of the week for me and my friends in the TMHK clan.  …a lot less so since Call of Duty: Ghosts came out, but I’ve already done my griping about that.  Unfortunately I’m feeling a little less than social tonight, rather I’m quite furious.

When Ghosts was released, my wife was pregnant with our twins.  With the family about to double in size, I was pinching every penny possible.  …so my plan was to make it my last purchase for the PlayStation 3 and wait as long as I could to spend any more on gaming.  I didn’t even commit to the season pass because I wasn’t sure I’d otherwise buy all the map packs before the next release and if I bought three of four I would still have spent $5 less than the pass.

Unfortunately my PS3 had other plans and before I could buy the second map pack, it got the dreaded yellow light of death (YLoD).  I’d successfully skirted a problem with the Blu-ray drive in the interim (thanks again, Nameless), but any recovery from the YLoD is going to be temporary.  I couldn’t justify sinking any more money into a PS3 when I’d bought mine so cheap, I had so few games for it and the PlayStation 4 was now the current gen that I’d been looking forward to joining, so I bided a bit of time and finally treated myself to one of Sony’s newest consoles.

That was not without its trials.  The first PS4 I received had this issue where it would (with the latest firmware, beep thrice, then) randomly eject discs (even when it was off!) and somehow virtually every surface of the machine served as an eject button.  Thankfully the one I returned it for seems solid, though there’s this issue with a hum in my headphones when the controller’s charging that seems to come and go, which I’ll blame on my Turtle Beach P11 headset for now.

I’d been sitting on a $50 GameStop card and I almost used it for the console, but figured with the shipping rates there I’d use it on downloads.  …but Ghosts DLC?  I already had to pay full price for the PS4 version of the game just to keep playing with my clan because I’d missed the timing for an upgrade, not to mention most people don’t like the game (its trade-in value at Amazon was down to a whopping $4.44 at the time), so should I really spend it on that?  Clan wars was starting, I’d been out of the game, I felt the urge, and somehow there’s a distinct lack of compelling alternatives for the FPS community on the new PlayStation, so I cashed it in.

Code in figurative hand, I logged into my PS4 and entered it for redemption, accordingly received a success confirmation.  However, this never resulted in anything to download through any visible path and visiting their store via PC only made things worse.  I was already regretting my purchase in a big way, but decided to forge on and contact PlayStation Store support.

After a very long first call, Sony told me that they were experiencing severe latency on their servers due to the Watch Dogs launch and I should wait and try again – clearly a bunch of B.S., but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  About 24 hours later, nothing had changed, so I contacted them again by chat.  After a very long chat, I was asked to re-approach them in what turned out to be another very long call, which ended in me being told to contact Activision.

I almost rage quit right out of gaming itself I was so ticked off.  I literally started boxing up brand-new equipment and putting it in the pile of things being sold.  I could have earned enough for a whole other season’s pass purchase in the first half of the first call – was I really supposed to sign up for a third night on the phone just to have my purchase fulfilled?

This evening, a day later, I regained my composure and phoned Activision.  After another very long call in which the rep treated me progressively more like some kind of thief (who apparently will spend days on the phone just to cheat them out of $50 worth of DLC for a game that is largely disliked), I was told I was trying to redeem a code meant for one console or the other on one of each, starting with the PS3, when: 1.) my PS3 is a brick and has been since long before I bought the code; and 2.) both GameStop and Activision advertise it as being cross-platform, Activision’s in-game store saying it’s “guaranteed” for PS4 if bought by the end of this month.  …and I should call Sony again.

I told him no.  I’m done wasting time on this and I’m most certainly not spending any more money on this awful game, in fact (unless I have some sudden change of heart), they’ve lost a customer permanently.  …and I was getting excited for Destiny too, but what, I’ll spend $60 to download the game or DLC for it, get nothing in turn and get treated like a criminal to boot?  If I hadn’t just sank still yet more money into Sony’s non-transferable extended warranty I’d be all done with them too, but I’ll concede that at least their representatives were polite about it.

I wish I’d realized it earlier, but the web is absolutely littered with tales of folks having issues like this with the Ghosts season pass and I’m not sure any of them have been solved, no matter how many threads Sony and Activision tag as such.  Either company could have made this right for me with ease while ensuring I’d only gotten what I’d paid for, but they chose to play the short game and take me for a measly $50 instead of fostering an already long-lived relationship that would have continued to grow and strengthen and continually pay out for them.  My business administration professors at URI might well have used this as a case study in what not to do.

Are you upset with GameStop, Activision, and/or Sony or other companies that act this way?  Tell me and my readers about it in the comments below.  Do you represent one of these companies and would like to make this situation right?  Get in touch because I’d be thrilled to write my next post all about how the whole lot of you were redeemed by one smart individual.

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