Meet The Guy Who Got His Xbox One Console Early

Meet The Guy Who Got The Xbox One Early

Before Monday, André Weingarten figured he was out of luck. A devoted Xbox user from day one — he replaced two red-ringed 360s — Weingarten didn't have a preorder down for the newest console. Then, lo and behold, Target had them in stock online. And then, incredibly, Weingarten had an Xbox One on his doorstep four days later.

"I went from panicking at not having one on Monday to getting it on Friday," said Weingarten, a college freshman who lives in New York state.

Weingarten is the now-notorious "Moonlight Swami," who last night captured his exploits with the Xbox One two weeks before its worldwide launch and then was banned — yes, banned-with-a-b banned, per a message over Xbox Live — after six hours of gametime.

However, it sounds like this episode will end well. Weingarten had an amicable chat with Larry Hryb — "Major Nelson," the No. 1 community guy for Xbox Live — and was assured that the console ban is not permanent. Sometime before the Xbox One's Nov. 22 launch, Weingarten's console will go back online in good standing. Microsoft will also pull its copyright claim on Weingarten's YouTube video of the console's unboxing, which — along with a slew of Tweets — appeared to get him in so much trouble overnight.

And then Weingarten will attend the Xbox One's gala launch event, as a guest of the company.

"Microsoft recognised that it was Target's error and not mine," Weingarten told me today. "They said a few days before launch I'll be unbanned. I can't go into too much detail but, basically [Major Nelson] says everything will be resolved. They're inviting me to the Xbox One launch event."

He couldn't say where that will be, only that "they'll make sure I get there."

It all closes out a stressful 24 hours for Weingarten, who came home Friday evening to a package from Target, opened it and blink-blink-blinked at the Xbox One box inside. He rushed out to a local GameStop where he knew the staff. A lone copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts for Xbox One was on the shelf. There was no street date for selling it because, hell, nobody could play the thing yet, right? Weingarten bought it.

"They asked why I needed it already and I said, 'I got it early,'" Weingarten recounted. Jaws dropped and Weingarten trundled home to play a game only 100 or so people, worldwide, are enjoying right now.

Then things start to get complicated.

After hooking up the Xbox One and powering it on, Weingarten was prompted to connect to his home Internet, and then set up his Kinect 2.0. There didn't appear to be any way to back out of that. After connecting to the Internet the console began pulling down a 500-megabyte day-one update, which will be necessary to play games.

Weingarten pumped out a slew of Tweets describing what he was seeing — download sizes for games, shots of his friends list, even using a stopwatch to time how long it took to get to the console's dashboard (17 seconds, for the record.) He filmed an unboxing and put that on YouTube, where he has 13,000 subscribers and his 1,000 videos have gathered more than 4 million views to date.

He played some Call of Duty: Ghosts. It's a 39-gigabyte installation, Weingarten said. Xbox One will let you play games as they're installing; Weingarten said Ghosts was playable at 51 per cent of its installation. It took about 15 minutes to get that far.

But then at 11:30 p.m., he got an email saying his unboxing video was pulled from YouTube on a copyright claim by Microsoft. "My channel had a copyright strike," Weingarten said. These are particularly bad — three of them gets your account pulled. Weingarten makes a little bit of money off ad revenue through his YouTube channel — "more than minimum wage" he says, helping to pay his college bills. But, frankly, he was worried that a copyright strike would attract the attention of his college's honour court. "They take the honour code around here very seriously," he said.

By 2 a.m. Saturday, Weingarten was playing Ghosts when he noticed that he'd been logged out of Xbox Live. When he tried to log back in, he received a notice from the service.

"It said the console is banned," Weingarten said. "'This console is banned for violating the Xbox Live terms of service,' and to please contact customer support."

It was 2 a.m. He had a console no civilian in the world should have right now. Call customer service? Was anyone around? How would he begin to explain the situation?

Meantime his main Twitter account was thrown in "Twitter jail" for publishing too much. Weingarten provided updates through an alternate feed, but now it was feeling like the weight of Microsoft, YouTube and Twitter was collectively being brought to bear on him, simply for celebrating the good fortune of finding an Xbox One on his doorstep, 14 days before the rest of the world can get it.

"It felt like they were being overly protective and going about things in a way of, you know, guilty until proven innocent," Weingarten said. "I was not really upset, I was just trying to deal with it all."

Meanwhile Microsoft and Target were dealing with what appears to be a grade-A screwup. As of now, Xbox Live isn't finished; anyone with a console who isn't Microsoft is under a non-disclosure agreement. Sources told Kotaku that Target mailed out some 150 consoles as soon as they hit a distribution center.

This morning both companies acknowledged the early release. Microsoft said any users who already have the Xbox One "will be restricted from connecting to Xbox Live until closer to our launch date." While Weingarten was able to get online long enough to download the day one Xbox Live update — which apparently is necessary to even play games — anyone else with an early console may not be able to do so.

Until he can reconnect to Xbox Live, Weingarten still has a usable machine — just not fully operational. "I can still play offline," Weingarten said. "I can't use any of the apps that require the Internet. It's like a barebones version of the Xbox 360, because so many more things on Xbox One need the Internet.

"It's kind of like going back to the original Xbox," he said.

Finally, late Saturday afternoon, Weingarten took a call from Hryb. Major Nelson, at an Xbox One event in Scottsdale, Ariz., called to explain what had happened and why. Weingarten wouldn't comment on some of the conversation, saying he'd been asked not to reveal particulars. The bottom line sounds like Microsoft felt compelled to act to keep a work-in-progress Xbox Live for Xbox One from going public, while smoothing things out with a longtime fan who himself had done nothing wrong and was, in fact, celebrating what he was seeing.

"I was telling people earlier today that just because this happened to me does not mean you guys should rob yourselves of a good time," Weingarten said. "The console is incredible. It would be a shame if you guys missed out on it."

The YouTube sanction was more troubling to Weingarten but that appears to be smoothed over, too. He said he was told his unboxing video will be allowed to go back up shortly before the console's Nov. 22 launch, meaning the "copyright strike" will be pulled. It also means he'll have the first unboxing video — and the advertising money that goes along with it.

For most of the next two weeks, though, Weingarten's Xbox One will remain disabled. Some features work — he can still put the Call of Duty: Ghosts disc in and play the game's campaign mode.

He'll have two weeks to play with the Xbox One. He just won't be able to play with anyone else. Or tell them about it.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @owengood.

RELATED:

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Lucky Gamer Gets Xbox One Way Early, Starts Spilling Details


eBay Seller Claims Target Shipped Them an Xbox One, Yours For $US9,995.00



Comments

    While this will eventually turn good for the poor guy, it seems like Microsoft was punishing him for Targets mistake. Banning his account, copy-write strike against his youtube account, and getting his twitter account suspended. The guy did nothing wrong, he got his console early through a mistake and started doing what millions of people are going to do come launch day. Hell, from the sounds of it, this guy has done more and better marketing for the Xbox One than Microsoft has done since they announced the console; yet he's the one getting punished.

      His console was banned not account. It sounds like he was banned for uploading videos of the console and software not because he got it early. He wasn't the only person to get the Xone but he was the only one banned because he uploaded content online. Still a dick move on MS's part but I can understand it.

      MS said on twitter that they are only banning the console until the servers are ready for public access, this is around 2 weeks before public launch, and they will unban the console when they are ready, so if their word holds true, it isn't too unfair.

      He's not being punished at all. The console shouldn't be out until the release date so they deactivated it until the release date. Also, again the CONSOLE was banned NOT his gamertag.

      Imagine its Christmas time and your presents are under the tree. Now lets say you open one because you know what it is and start playing with it, when your parents come home and make you put it back in the box and wrap it up again till Christmas is that you being punished or just being made to go back to the original scenario of presents on Christmas day.
      Microsoft reacted strongly, as most companies would when an unreleased product is found to be in public hands, but they then had time to evaluate the situation and in the end the guy not only gets his console without waiting but also gets to go to the launch event. Doesn't sound like he was all that hard done by if you ask me.

        It's not quite the same situation though - you generally don't pay your parents for your xmas presents - they're gifts. This guy has paid the asking price for his XBox One console. If MS had given it to him for free then the Christmas present analogy might hold.

        That's not to say I disagree with your basic argument, though - MS haven't bricked the console, just blocked it from getting onto XBL. The guy owns the console and he can still use it offline. He just can't use it on the XBL service which is owned by Microsoft and they can set whatever rules they like on there. As long as they didn't brick the console itself, or ban his actual XBL account (which he can legitimately use with his 360), and as long as they re-enable it all in time for the official release date then it seems fair enough to me.

      It is pretty simple. He is publishing video content of an unfinished product, MS went into damage control (as any major company would) and halted any of the sources possible for sharing this content (if there was one little thing that was not working properly the people of the internet would pick it apart and drag MS over the coals) Yes it may seem extreme, but banning his twitter and taking the copyright road with youtube was the quickest way to stop this in its tracks. He is in no way being punished, if anything he is being rewarded...income generated by his videos will go to him, he now has a name for himself and MS are arranging for him to go to an official launch party.

      Not directly aimed at you Mase:
      Pretty entertaining reading narrow minded users comments, yes we feel your pain, the whole world is against you. MS owes you, because you made a conscious choice to spend money on their products. Heaven (fictional place) Forbid you don't buy their product, you (people of the internet) will still put in all your energy into telling the world how bad they are..big scary evil corporations.

    This is what happens when you support companies who are trying to take full control of the products that you paid for and own.

      You don't own their online servers, he can still play single player mode.

        Not if you can't download a required update.

          Which he did, his console was just banned from playing online.

      How are you still stuck on that bandwagon? Have you not heard about the reversal to their DRM (Now non-existent) policy?

      And if you're not referring to the old Xbone, what other product does Microsoft produce that they take FULL control of?

    If they're ready to ship...Open the floodgates i say.

    Honestly Microsoft wouldn't have a leg to stand on if he decided to sue, he never signed anything and street date isn't a responsibility for the end user. This was a pretty big dick move by Microsoft at a time when they really can't afford any more negative PR.

      He would have accepted the Terms of Service, which is legally bending.

        Except there is likely to be nothing in the TOS that states use before the product can be shipped with a TOS...

        Legally bending over I suppose...

          I suspect there wouldn't be.

          But stoob's argument was that MS would not have a leg to stand on for preventing him from using that particular console online. This is wrong because in order to take the console online you'd have to agree to the ToS which, I'll bet you $37 million in any currency of your choice, would contain a clause stating something like 'we reserve the right to suspend your console for any reason without notice'.

          He can still use his console and he can still play games. He just can't get online, which is up to Microsoft's whim. Purchasing the console alone does not legally guarantee him the right to use the online service.

      What damages would he be suing for, exactly?

        Loss of income whilst his YouTube account has been suspended. Also, slander for the breach of copyright notice that anyone who tried to view the video would have seen. He could presumably prove that the notice had a negative impact on his reputation, as what he did was in no way a breach of copyright, and would be entitled to compensation.

          Firstly, his Youtube account was nenver suspended. One video was blocked, temporarily. Secondly, Microsoft are perfectly legally entitled to pull a copyright claim on his videos that use their products whenever they like. They allow people to use their products in monetised videos because it's basically free advertising for them. These restrictions only got tighter with the impending release of the XBox One, so much so that there were even concerns that popular machinima series Red vs. Blue might be put to an end - Burnie Burns had to personally clarify that they have a special deal with Microsoft that permits them to keep producing the product. Other amateur machinimists may not be so lucky, especially if you publish something Microsoft doesn't like. "Fair use" only extends so far. I know this wasn't machinima, but the principle itself still applies.

          I doubt this person has any such standing arrangement, otherwise it's unlikely his console would have been banned and the video blocked in the first place.

          Last edited 12/11/13 11:51 am

            Sorry, but you have a seriously skewed view. The video that got pulled was an unboxing of a console he legally bought. He has no obligation to keep that to himself; he signed no NDA, he broke no copyright laws, and Microsoft exploited the system to have the video pulled because Target messed up. The guy did nothing wrong and there was zero grounds for a copyright strike.

            Fair Use covers review and critique, which by all legal measures includes an unboxing of a legally purchased product. I seriously don't think the guy should sue, but he could and would be in the right. It would ultimately be far too expensive and not worth it in the end, but only because Microsoft could drag it out not because they are actually right.

    Its still an awesome scenario for him, couldn't have gone better

    He may have the first unboxing video, but my god it was a terrible one.

    I understand he was excited but he could have at least done a decent job of it - steady camera, items whole and in focus, etc. Plus no babbling and swearing haha.

    ..... this dude twitter account was also banned and another guy who tried selling is on ebay, go his ebay account banned ...... stay classy Microsoft

    The whole copyright strike on his Youtube video still really bugs me....

    What exactly are they claiming they own in it? Youtube really needs to change their policy.

      If he shows any of the home screens or game play it would breach copyright. Basically anything of it turned on.

      Uncontracted/unlicensed exhibition of a system's user interface or footage of a game, since his channel is monetised.

    Where is his photo?? Article said "meet the guy".

    Can't we have a gentleman's agreement between console manufacturers and consumers? "If you get a product before its release, you will be allowed to use it under the condition that you not shout about it from the rooftops." Publishers (nowadays, at least) seem to be happy to let people play games that they get early, provided they can prove they purchased them legally, and don't broadcast information about them all over the internet.

    Or, restrict access to the update to known identities/consoles until launch day, if they're so paranoid about information getting out, and especially (as Microsoft seem to be indicating) if the service they're providing isn't ready yet.

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