When I got my Series X, one of the things that came with it was a code for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. About a month in I decided to redeem the code, and found it had been used. This lead to a runaround with Microsoft support telling me I needed to contact GameStop, opening up a ticket for them to “investigate,” as the unit had not come directly from Microsoft, and subsequently GameStop ghosting me.
Not happy about that GameStop.
I had very little incentive to go for Game Pass at the time, the only thing I was really interested in was getting the chance to play Katamari Damacy re-roll, as that’s one of the wall of video games I like that hasn’t had Xbox backward compatibility support. I’ve got a wall of games I want to play, and none of them work.
But then I saw Star Wars Squadrons – which would be included with the EA Play component and work on the PC and work with VR and yup, that fished me in – the ability to be in the cockpit of a Tie or X-Wing… yeah that took my geek and screamed “I’m selling your childhood dream to you!” and that was that. I signed up for the $1 month trial and subsequent conversion of my 5 or 6 months remaining on Gold pass to 3 months of Ultimate.
I did this extremely reluctantly as I’ve been grandfathered in on pricing and was paying about $49 a year for Gold rather than the $119.88 / $100 pricing they have now.
I signed up on the computer and was told it would email me instructions on how to connect the EA component… half an hour later I’d received a couple of emails from Microsoft (purchase confirmation, seems like another,) but neither had anything whatsoever to do with the EA component.
I made the mistake
the Xbox app said I’d need EA Desktop to see the EA titles on my… desktop… so I got that and chose sign in with Xbox. Seemed the logical thing to do. Unfortunately when it signed in, well, evidently I must have signed up for EA sometime prior to 2016 because this account 1) had an ancient email address, 2) needed verification.
Unfortunately the email address associated with the account is unreachable – mail server no longer exists, or at least it no longer is accessible to anyone who had that lifetime service. I had to open a chat with EA and told them the two email addresses (old and new) and took over the account far far too easily for my comfort.
Like really, I’m a bit unclear on what the security for accounts actually was and I’m hoping they had more information than I think they did. But it was easy. Way too easy.
By the end of my maybe 8 minute EA interaction Squadrons was installing on the Series X and on my PC.
Microsoft was a different beast. I wanted Flight Simulator on the PC and the Series X. It downloaded to the Series X but the store kept throwing errors on the PC. Keep in mind this PC was built by me, is as vanilla as possible at the moment, updated, licensed, no hacked software, no security software, no crazy VPN active, yadda yadda yadda.
It threw an error 0x80073cf3 attempting to download Flight Sim, but nothing else. I went down the troubleshooting rabbit hole of clearing cache, resetting the MS store, 14 steps that did nothing. There was nothing I did that made any difference including attempting to install it on another computer. The official line was wait, it’ll probably fix itself later. I tried other games just to verify that the thing was capable, they worked Flight Sim didn’t.
The next day the same issue.
Day 3 something different happened. Rather than erroring out with 0x80073cf3 in 10 seconds, I would click resume or try and Digital License would look like it was trying to start, and just sit there. Forever. Watching this tiny file sitting in front of the 100+gig MS Flight Sim download that would never start was depressing.
I remember having it attempt to download for about 10 minutes or so before walking away. Day 4 I woke up and there was a Flight Sim shortcut on my desktop and it looks like it got there finally.
And I accomplished my childhood dream
I sat in a Tie Fighter, followed by an X-wing, and got into a dogfight in VR. While the VR doesn’t really add a whole lot as you’re sitting in these cockpits, it surprisingly is useful for looking where something’s going and pulling the ship around to lead it and fire. I found myself actually physically tired after a few dogfights as well as I was much much more connected to the game.
The only things that really were tech support level here was the game display was messed up – like imagine a 640×480 window stretched over 4K and then somehow not enough space so you can’t see the bottom, and then grainy VR that you have to switch from automatic to high… that, however, seems to be all EA’s issue and not Xbox’s.
Now I just need time
I have very little time these days. Oh, I should have time, but with school shutting down, my kid being safety booted because of potential covid exposure, the 3-hour line to get PCR tests so she could go back one school day earlier, having to get a new roof, having to arrange to get a ceiling fixed with the roofing company after they sent a man through the ceiling, work, and every time I sit down to play a game *something* happening whether that be an 80 gig update, sudden unexplained internet issues on the TV that make it not able to switch inputs, etc, I have found my time nonexistent.
I have, however, finally got Katamari Damacy ready to introduce to my children and I’m looking forward to that.