5 Responses to Zune doesn’t allow you to change the country of your account

  1. Tudor says:

    Yep, e veche problema: http://windowsphone.uservoice.com/forums/101801-feature-suggestions/suggestions/2283474-enable-to-change-my-account-country-?page=1 – cel mai probabil o combinatie de birocratie la departamentul juridic al MS combinata cu o arhitectura prost gandita, mostenita de pe vremea Zune.

    O “explicatie” de la MS am gasit la: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/zune/forum/account-pc/bug-cannot-change-country/f8e3654c-dd62-48f1-95b0-1b97776d20fa?page=2 :
    “There is a licensing and rating component to this issue. The various nations that have access to the Marketplace all have different restrictions on the distribution of licensed media, and content ratings based on age. Certain countries have actually banned certain media and games, regardless of age. The only way we can be sure we are not violating local laws is to lock the profiles to the specific region information that was originally entered when the profile was created.
    We cannot allow users to be able to change these settings, since some would do so in an attempt to subvert local conventions. I understand that you are not attempting to get around such restrictions personally, but you will be prevented from doing so nonetheless.
    The only way I can imagine this policy ever changing is if every country in the world adopted standard licensing policies for all media and games.
    Thank you for consulting Microsoft Answers.

    • Sorin Dolha says:

      That’s exactly what I’ve found myself. But I don’t find their explanations satisfactory simply because a physical user can always have as many Live accounts he or she wants, and have them bound to different Zune accounts, and therefore it’s possible that they are bound to different countries; tehnically Microsoft cannot control that a user specifies the country correctly, so simply requiring this in the EULA should be enough (as for other services they provide).

      Right now, if the user resets his or her phone he or she can change the account bound to the phone and therefore he or she can migrate to another marketplace, and possibly never login again with his old account. So in theory, my proposition isn’t that different than what we have. Of course, Microsoft should do some work to “archive” (or remove, why not?) application ratings and so on (performed with some account at one time) when the account coultry would get the country and markeplace changed, but beside this, nothing else is different.

      I understand that the country change couldn’t be performed seemlessly, i.e. preserving applications and content, but that’s “OK”. I just want to remove the “forever” link between the Live account and Marketplace country settings.

      Alternatively they could start supporting adding multiple Zune accounts to the same Live account. This way all data of one account in one country would be preserved when changing the Zune account to a different one, but using the same e-mail address (to not force the end user to get a completely new Live account when he or she moves in a different country).

      I cannot find a reason for not doing either of the above, except for prioritization of features (i.e. lazyness) of the Microsoft team. Technically it should be possible to resolve the issue with little work from their side.

      PS: Reading the forums, I find more and more Windows Phone users each day that simply move from one country to another (immigration is so common in 21st century!) and as they find about this “issue”, they start moving to different platforms, such as Android or iPhone. Some decide to keep the Windows Phone but they don’t purchase any content anymore from the Marketplace (as they cannot do it, as they don’t have their old country credit cards anymore!). They are downgraded to use only the new applications that can be freely downloaded from the old marketplace, and purchase new music and other content from external sites, eventually linking the files to their phone from Zune software on the PC. Anyway they choose, Microsoft started to lose money in favor of their competition, in my opinion just because of their lazyness. I expect this will change eventually, despite their current opinion. It’s just not logical to be it as it is, and generally, Microsoft has been a logical thinker in the past. I hope this attribute will never get lost – it’s something I have always liked them for!

  2. Sorin Dolha says:

    Here is a comment posted today on the Windows phone user voice forum. I find it more and more common among users, especially in the EU, but not only here: “I will not buy any Microsoft product until this issue is resolved (especially Windows Phone, which I actually intended to buy within the next few weeks). I am an European citizen and I have freedom of movement within the EU. For me, it is unacceptable having to create a new Live-ID when I move to another country for work, which sometimes happens.”

    And more bad news, also posted in the same forum today: “Windows 8 [Store] has exactly the same issue. It uses the same service account as Zune/Xbox Live/Windows phone, so you can’t change your country in your Windows 8 account if you move.”

    A possible solution for getting Microsoft resolve this issue sooner rather than later (or never) would be to complain about it to the appropriate authorities in your country, as indicated in another forum post: “Microsoft seems to think that it can continue to ignore individual users over this issue, but if EU Data Protection Authorities are made aware of it, through our complaints, then perhaps Microsoft will get prodded into taking some action to resolve it”. Find more information and links on: http://www.itisourdata.com.

    From the European Directive 95/46/EC, Article 12(b): “Member States shall guarantee every data subject [EU consumer] the right to obtain from the controller [Microsoft]: as appropriate the rectification, erasure or blocking of data the processing of which does not comply with the provisions of this Directive, in particular because of the incomplete or inaccurate nature of the data“.

    A petition can be signed to request for change (at least in the EU): https://www.change.org/petitions/microsoft-corporation-allow-windows-live-id-users-to-change-their-billing-country-information

    • Sorin Dolha says:

      I can confirm one can change the country provided that he or she can get access to a physical XBox console for more than 30 days:
      – download the gamertag profile of the Microsoft Account to the console;
      – wait for 30 days (required by XBox policy);
      – in the meantime, create a secondary Microsoft Account;
      – move the XBox gamertag from the primary account to the secondary account using the console’s Account menu;
      – finally, on Windows Phone bound to the primary account, open Marketplace and the country selection will appear again; note: a new gamertag will be issued for your account, too, and you’ll lose XBox achievemenets, etc.

      It seems that at this time, it is technically possible only if you can get access to an XBox console, so I foresee that eventually the procedure will be available for all users and without the 30 days delay, especially as the Support forums might get country change requests too often. (Hopefully.)

  3. Pingback: Changing XBox Country/Region | Sorin Dolha's Blog

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