In the recent XBL update, Microsoft added many new features to Xbox360 consoles. Apparently they added something more. A feature that prevents anyone who has an account younger than 18 or as a child account cannot download videos or demos rated above the us rating M.
The fall update was supposed to add buckets of new features, all things gamers had been requesting. It added the ability to have a bio on ones profile, the ability to browse friends friends lists, a redesigned dashboard, new video codecs and controls, and thousands of bugfixes. The Update did exactly as it was claimed it would. Many gamers gripe about clans being left out, AGAIN, but it might come later, Microsoft mentioned more to come.
The turd in the punchbowl
Unannounced was a little other "feature". On accounts who have their birthdays set to an age lower than 18, or who have not changed their accounts to adult accounts, are set as a child account. In previous versions, the child account could be governed by a fairly limited family settings pane. In the new update, all that was added to this pane was a family timer option, but there was much more added to other parts of parental controls. If a limited account attempts to download a video or demo of a product rated M or higher, they are denied the permission to do so. There isn't an option for parents to come and enter their password, as with every other part of family settings, it is just simply flat out denied. There is no control for parents to toggle this feature. Limited accounts can still download extra content for games, it seems that it is only videos and demos are affected, and nothing in XBL Arcade is changed. Surprisingly, gamers still can by the original Halo on the new Original Xbox Games marketplace, despite its rating of M.
This is a real punch in the face for a large number of gamers, due to the unfortunate event of them not being born before 1988. While demos and videos are not required for content, players like to download them and watch them for entertainment. This has taken a big chunk out of what is available on the marketplace. Many gamers are calling foul, because of the fact that it wont let you download content if you are under 18, while the ESRB M rating is for 17 and up. Other problems come from the fact that the feature cannot be disabled. The general comments on the forums were "Microsoft @#$%!-up marketplace", "@$%$#, i just cached in a 50m on my account", and "@#%$ you Microsoft". More enlightened comments stated that this was the beginning of global censorship and the end of Net Neutrality. Others replied with terms such as Sue, Lawsuit, Lawyer, Billion, Microsoft, Court.
Why this censorship is wrong
Censorship should be doled out by the legal parent/guardian of said child, not by some megacorp in Redmond. It is fine if Microsoft provides the option, given a disable feature. We wouldn't like it if we went to Google, and found it was blocked because our isp didn't think it was appropriate for us, and that is how many gamers feel when they went to download a Bioshock trailer, or the like. What Microsoft is doing is parenting other people's children, instead of letting the parents do their jobs.
Why it can be explained
Microsoft likely put into act these measures because of the following reasons. Many parents are completely unsavvy with technology, ESPECIALLY game consoles. They may have just given little Jordan or Billy their windows live account name and pass, knowing he was a "good little kid" and wouldn't do anything wrong. In most cases they are right. But occasionally the odd strange parent walks in and finds billy playing Gears of war, and sawing through his neighbor tommy in a large spurt of blood. Said parent then, instead of taking action for themselves and restricting the gameplay rating, blames Microsoft for making such violence, and promptly sues them. The only way Billy could have gotten hold of GoW was if his parents took him to EB Games, and bought it for him, because the game is CLEARLY marked M 17+, and store clerks aren't allowed to sell those games to minors. Microsoft, naturally tired of lawsuits and pundits like Jack Thompson, decided to put a stop to it. They locked out the accounts from all M videos and demos. You would too if you had a herd of dumb people suing you for their own mistakes and incompetence.
How Microsoft can save themselves
If Microsoft were to add a control for this feature, they would be ready to go, and I suspect the forum ranting would dry up almost immediately. They could even leave it like it is as a default, just add a control. Gamers are the hippies of this generation, they enjoy what they do, they dont give a flying @#$% what others think, and do not like being restricted in a way they feel unjust.
A bit of good news for halo3 players
Don't poop out your intestines yet, i have a bit of good news for you. You will still be able to download the maps on Tuesday, it is only Videos and Demos that are restricted, game content is open, and the new maps fall under game content. If you want a confirmation, go to all games>bioshock and download the new plasmids. Your download will work perfectly.