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Monday, 27 September 2010

Windows Live signup process - usability fail

I have F1 2010 working on my PC now. All very well except the first time you go into it you get asked for your name, team you want to drive for etc. and you get a couple of minutes of training in using the menus and hints on how the 'career' thing works from your agent 'Gabrielle'. Which is all great, except that you can't save anything by default. And what's the reason? Microsoft Windows Live...

I initially installed F1 2010 on my laptop and just in case it 'phoned home' my access code I installed without being connected to the LAN. That way I could be sure of being able to reinstall on main PC without a 'duplicate installation' problem if it had registered my machine's details with an external server on the net somewhere. As a result of not being connected I had to go through the registration and training every time I start the hame. After installing onto my main PC I decided 'ok I'll let it register' with the XBox LIVE service (Yes, it's a PC game, it uses the same online gaming thingy as the XBox). How hard can it be?

To do that, it fires up a web browser outside the game. You need to create a Windows Live ID (i.e. the same account you'd using for MSDN or Microsoft's 'MSN' instant messaging service. Great - already have one of those (actually 3) so that saves one step. So now I pick a LIVE username, and it also wants to know my Date Of Birth. Not filling it in isn't an option. Ridiculous - I just want to save my games.

Completed registration, back to game "A new update for LIVE is available, do you want to install it (by the way, if you don't, you will be disconnected from LIVE)". That's such a pointless question, obviously I tell it to install. "Please save your game progress, and exit the game to complete installation". Oh the irony. Then I get another "Do you want to allow this application to make modifications to your computer?" notice from Windows.

So I have to register with 2 services (LIVE, and live username separately) plus supply my birthdate to be able to save anything in F1 2010. What an absolute shitload of nonsense in order to save something that could just be dumped on my hard drive. Aren't we supposed to be concerned about privacy these days and not supply personal information to everyone?

Internet security FAIL. Usability FAIL. Waste of time WIN.