An(other) Update on the ZA Xbox Live Marketplace – Sync or Swim?

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sync

I’ve been pretty defensive about the local Xbox Live Marketplace. It’s a new fledgling store in a new territory and it takes time to get things up and running. Mostly, I’m just glad that we finally have Xbox Live after fighting so hard for it for the better part of 4 years.

There’s a point though where even the strongest advocates have to back down and shut the hell up. As of writing, there are still only 3 fully fledged arcade titles available on the local marketplace. As an upside, I believe we’re getting Avatar items day and date with the UK, and I’ve also been told that the Call of Duty : Black Ops Zombie maps can now be downloaded with South African accounts.

The reason for the delay isn’t down to some mysterious “sync” that’s happening in the cloud though. According to Microsoft SA, it’s all down to our local Film and Publication’s board – the FPB; the government run media nannies who control what media we can and can’t partake in.

According to a discussion on the Xbox360 SA Facebook page

“…The problem lies in that our classification system is not PEGI as the rest of Europe is, we use FPB (Film & Publication board) to classify our games (eg. 18V, 13 etc) and because of this all the Arcade games need to be classified locally. We are in the process of doing it – but it will take some time to get them all done. Keep checking back [sic] marketplace as more games become available.”

I know many of you reading that will be clenching your fists, ready to shout “Then you should have bloody well gotten all that sorted BEFORE launch!” and admittedly, I’m one of those people. The problem with that though is that they tried to, but the FPB (like many of our government institutions) have a terrible tendency to do things at their own pace.

Somebody at Microsoft really needs to light fires under the arses of those responsible at the FPB and get thing expedited. At the current rate, we’ll have a fully populated Xbox Live Marketplace just in time for nobody to give a damn anymore. They need to propose a definite time-frame for when the local marketplace will reach parity with more established ones, and that would go a long way in easing the current local hostility towards Microsoft and the Xbox brand.

One last thing…those brave souls who migrated their accounts under the auspices of free MS points and are still waiting? You’ll be getting those points in about 4 weeks time, although whether or not there’ll be anything worthwhile to spend them on is a different matter entirely.

Last Updated: November 19, 2010

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