Xbox Marketing Fail…

My son recently received an Xbox 360 for Christmas. So as ‘gamer dad’, it was my job to go through the process of setting him up on Xbox Live, including making sure he was on a restricted profile. Even after owning an Xbox 360 since around launch, it was a bit of a faff, including the fact I’d restricted it so much that he couldn’t actually join in games with me. Which was kind of the point…

The main thing was to make sure he wasn’t seeing age-restricted content. As much as I believe in parental oversight, I’m still in trouble over the time I discovered he was able to use the Xbox navigation at the age of 3. Mainly because I left the room for a minute and by the time I came back, he’d given himself nightmares by managing to open up a game based around killing zombies.

So having used one of my email addresses for his new Xbox Live profile, I was a bit surprised to see this proudly displayed as the top recommendation.


Personally I’m quite keen on the look of Battlefield Hardline. But my son is going to have to wait around a decade before he’s a suitable age for it.

I’d be the first to admit that possibly in adjusting the profile settings to enable him to actually play games over the internet with his own father, I might have made a mistake somewhere. But I’d certainly locked everything down to the best of my abilities. And if I can’t work an Xbox 360 reasonably competently by now, I’d say there was a distinct usability problem with the system settings area – I’ve not only signed up for EULAs etc, but had a hand in writing a few.

In any case, given even a single indication that it’s an age-restricted profile, surely the default should be to play it safe, rather than risk yet another Netmums outcry over violence in videogames?

I’m already approaching the time when my son is a better gamer than I am. The longer I can keep him away from adult games and retain some kind of mystique, the better…


Lessons from Call of Duty…

I’ve just posted on FPSPrestige about my achievement in reaching Prestige Level 15 in Call of Duty Black Ops.

If you’re not a gamer, or a Call of Duty fan, it means that essentially I worked my way from Level 1 to 50, unlocking perks, guns and weapon attachments. And I did that 15 times in a row.

It also means in the past 2 years, I’ve spent almost 17 days actually in Call of Duty matches.


Whether or not you can identify, or you’re shaking your head at the idea of me wasting time on a videogame, there are definitely a whole host of lessons around gamification and motivation which can be learned from the Call of Duty series.

I’ve touched on this before, when I analysed the key attractions of Call of Duty and Farmville. And when I looked at the social comparison between the two biggest military shooting games, Call of Duty and Battlefield.

What’s interesting is that Battlefield has continued to be reasonably successful, but has never managed to challenge Call of Duty – meanwhile Farmville and similar Zynga-style Facebook social games appear to be tailing off….