Microsoft explains Modern Warfare 2 DLC debacle

Software giant says Stimulus Package was accidentally released before latest Call of Duty received Xbox Live title update, still mopping up prepaid-card issues.

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Just weeks after it was criticized for its $15 price, the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - Stimulus Package launched on Xbox Live. To put it mildly, the results were less than optimal. No sooner had the five-map pack gone on sale than reports began to flow in that the game's matchmaking was broken and the maps were not loading. Purchasing problems were also widely reported.

Late yesterday, Microsoft explained the whole debacle on its Xbox Live Operations Blog. "Through a process failure on our part, the Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package was released this morning before the Title Update (TU) for MW2 was available," wrote Xbox Live operations manager Eric Neustadter under his Gamertag "e." "Unfortunately, the Stimulus Package doesn't function correctly without the TU. Once they had been released out of order, it wasn't a simple thing for us to resolve. For a couple of hours, the result was unpredictable, but most people couldn't get into a game through matchmaking. In technical terms, it was a big hairball that we had to unwind."

"Well, that's your problem right there. Your title update goes out before your DLC."

Microsoft claims that the majority of issues were resolved about 11 a.m. PDT yesterday. However, the Xbox Live Support Twitter page shows that some players are still reporting matchmaking issues. Microsoft said it is also sorting out some billing issues.

"These are primarily around the redeeming of POSA cards--POSA stands for 'Point of Sale Activation,'" Neustadter explained. "These are the cards that you buy at a retail store that they then activate for you at the checkout register. Some cards that were properly activated at the retailer are reporting back to us as not having been activated yet. You haven't done anything wrong, you won't lose your money, and you don't need to go back to the store--just hang in there and try again in a few hours. The Stimulus Package has been so popular that our POSA vendors that make those magic point cards work are a little backed up."

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