This is a reprint of the letter from the editor in Unwinnable Monthly Issue Seventy-Six, the Japan issue. You can buy Issue Seventy-Six now, or purchase a one-month subscription to make sure you never miss an issue!
Today, I had the pleasure of learning my PlayStation account was compromised.
Just before noon, I received an email thanking me for the purchase of Rocket League, all its downloadable content and all the add-ons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, totaling $93.91. Six minutes later, as I was in the process of changing my password, I received another, this time for EA Sports UFC and a Call of Duty: Black Ops III bundled with all of its downloadable content, for an additional $129.98.
The Sony tech support guy – I forget his name, but let’s call him Mike – gave me the lowdown on what happened. Someone got my account details, got access to my profile, then removed it from my PlayStation 4 to their overseas unit. Then they proceeded to buy as many games as they could.
“Do they get to keep playing those games?” I asked.
“Nope,” said Mike. “The only way they can get to the games on that console is to get access to your details again. And the good thing about this is, you can only move a profile once every six months, so they can’t even try to do it again until August 3. Sadly, by then, they’ll have access to someone else’s account.”
“Why would they do that, though?” I asked. “It took me five minutes to change my password and you’re going to ban their console. Why would they go to all this trouble to play 15 minutes of Call of Duty DLC?”
“Boredom, basically,” said Mike. “These people, like, these people in particular, are doing it because they have nothing better to do. Like kids, causing trouble. They probably didn’t even get most of it downloaded.”
All told, start to finish, the saga took thirty minutes to resolve.
Well, sorta. The funny thing about this that, although the fraudulent transaction took minutes to go through, it will take:
24 hours for my PlayStation account to be restored
3-5 business days for the refund to be approved
God knows how long before PayPal restores the funds
Calling my bank would probably have gotten the money back immediately, but Mike told me that would have wound up causing huge amounts of red tape with regards to getting my PlayStation account back into good standing. So, hot tip, if this happens to you, (change your password) and then call Sony first.
Don’t get me wrong, things could have been a whole lot worse (like, if they had done it in the middle of the night), but I think it is worth ruminating on the whole power differential at play behind gigantic corporations moving at a glacial pace to restore order for a tiny flyspeck of an individual.
What bums me out the most, though, is the villain’s lack of imagination. A quick look at my history would reveal that I don’t fire up the PlayStation that often and Witcher 3 is already in my library. Why bother stealing Call of Duty when you could just play that?
* * *
We’ve got a jam packed issue for you. First, in Thoughts, we’ve got three new columns coming to you every month. Two are focused on music: Casey Lynch is covering metal and Mitch Bowman is covering DIY hardcore. The third sees Adam Boffa examining why opinions of videogames diverge. We’ve also added Now Playing, a set of bullet reviews of noteworthy games Team Unwinnable is currently playing. In Variations, we’re happy to introduce our new series, Byte Club, in which comedian Brock Wilbur and a rotating special guess subject themselves to the tortures of videogame inspired movies.
This month’s Theme is the Culture of Japan and our stories examine a number of aspects, from game narratives to wrestling promotions. We wanted to dig at how history, mythology and deeply embedded social systems create a culture that is at once idiosyncratically Japanese and baffling to Westerners. I think Katriel Paige, Brian Crimmins, Brian Mangan, Ed Blair, Don Becker, Steven Wright, Charles Dunbar and D. H. Shimomura do an amazing job of examining our fascination with the culture.
And there’s much more inside!
Jersey City, New Jersey
February 2, 2016