Thursday, June 09, 2005

Million dollar fiasco

Well... the hunt for the million is on... but the contest seems to some major problems.
Players are posting all over the place that some of them cannot:
a) download the DLC containing the icon
b) submit the code once they have found the icon

With this being the case it's hard to claim that it is a fair hunt... more like a random process for getting a winner. That is not a bad thing in and of itself (to have a winner determined at random) but there seems to be A LOT of disgruntled players out there.

RedPhoenix over at the Majesco forums had an excellent post sizing up the situation and making recommendations for change.

the contest, at the time of your post, was NOT available to everyone who was considered a valid player. [Ed:This post was in response to a semi-official announcement from Majesco that the DLC was available 'NOW' DLC does NOT become available to everyone at once on Live, it hits different users in waves. It has never hit everyone at once in any game delivery yet - we just do not notice it much because normal game DLC has no bearing if we get it late and we usually are not sitting in front of the console waiting for it.

It was 10:45pm CT (8:45pm PT) before DLC was available to users in Canada's CT area. I know that many users in New York and other Eastern area also see similar delays. I'm not just talking about "having trouble downloading it" - I mean it literally could not even be SEEN in the download area. Congestion, as you suggest, would only affect being able to actually download it - not SEEing it.

The only way you will make this contest "fair", if you cannot do anything further about the DLC delays nationwide, is to NOT give out any clues until at least 24-48 hours into that week's contest.

It is usually traditional to wait until it is apparent that the players are having troubles before you tell them (almost straight out) where it is. I knew pretty much where to find it from the way-too-obvious clue you supplied. Once I finally had access to the DLC it took less than 15 minutes to locate it.

These players all have legitimate gripes about how the contest was conducted so far and you trivializing the problem makes it even worse.

Now, to add fuel to the fire, you (or whomever the IT team is) either did not fully test the submission process or you never load tested the servers handling the submissions, because it would appear that the servers are offline - if it was excessive traffic and timing out the server request, we would more likely see a 500 error, not 404 errors.

A 404 error only usually comes up if the page is really non-existant or the web service is not responding.

My suggestion to you (meaning Majesco) would be to cancel this week's contest and chalk it up to trial and error, fix your submission code/servers (or get new ones), do not supply clues until after at least a 24 hour window, and work more closely with Larry and the rest of the staff at Xbox Live to get the DLC better delivered on time.

You cannot run a contest of this proportion with this many loose ends still dangling in the wind.

This entire fiasco aside, the game is great.

Let's hope they fix this up by next week. Seems Majesco is still on a learning curve. Should some of the blame also be pointed at MS for the Xbox Live performance ? Or is it simply a matter of how the contest was designed to start by Majesco ?

Speak out in the comments section if you are having good/bad experiences with the contest.


At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See? This game is da bunk now with the glitches!

They need to give everyone who bought it $30 back.



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