It appears that Microsoft will not give full refunds to people who purchased the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft, even when they can't use the game's biggest new feature.
Yesterday, Kotaku reported that in order to use Minecraft's local multi-player mode, you need to have a high-definition television. In response to Kotaku's request for comment, Microsoft verified that, saying "in game prompts alert players of the HD requirements for split-screen multiplayer."
In other words, you won't know about this requirement until you actually play the game. There is no warning or other indication on Xbox Live's marketplace that might suggest you need a high-definition TV to use Minecraft's split-screen (although you can see a warning if you play the demo).
This a problem for a number of gamers, including Kotaku reader Andrew King, who bought the Xbox version of Minecraft expecting to play it with his wife and friends. He says he can't afford a brand new television, and that he had absolutely no clue a high-definition TV was required. And now he says Microsoft won't give him a refund.
"They're telling me that they cannot give me a refund over the item (as I still have the licence, the game works fine, etc, etc)," King said in an email. "They told me that they haven't given a refund to anybody else (even though other people on the Minecraft forums have said they've managed to get a refund), so they can't give me one... If they'd advertised it like that, I would not have bought the game."
Indeed, some gamers have claimed they received full refunds for their copies of the game. But when Kotaku called Microsoft customer support today to see if we could get a refund, they told us it would depend on a number of factors, including which customer service representative was handling the case, and that at most we would get only a portion of our Microsoft Points back.
Right now, the in-game warning looks like this:
And here's the Minecraft listing on Xbox Live:
It's ambiguous. And it's something that Microsoft should change or clarify as soon as possible. I've reached out to Microsoft again to see if they have any plans to make the requirement clear or give refunds to misled gamers. I'll update should they choose to respond.
Elyas Gorogo-Baker contributed to this report.