Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that all Xbox Live members (Gold and Silver) around the world would have access to a full Xbox Live Arcade game to download free of charge as a compensation for the issues the service experienced during the holiday break.
Today, Microsoft revealed that beginning next Wednesday, 2:00 a.m. PST through Sunday, 11:59 p.m. PST, Xbox Live members worldwide can download the full version of Undertow.
For weeks now, Xbox Live has been struggling to provide the usually hassle-free experience that the service provides. The massive influx of new users and traffic from the holidays is no doubt the route of the problem, and Microsoft’s inability to promptly “fix” Live (certain issues are still lingering one third of the way into January) in a timely fashion has led to outcries of the community in the form of calls for refunds, free extensions on Live subscriptions, and even a lawsuit.
And while the problems have frustrated myself as much as any other Xbox Live Gold subscriber – playing NBA 2K8 online is practically a daily ritual for a friend of mine and me – I’ve realized from the beginning that I’m not entitled to jack from Microsoft. While they announced that they’d be handing out an Xbox Live Arcade game for free as an “oops, our bad,” all of the demands that we’re entitled to prorated refunds are completely unwarranted – as unfortunate or as unfair as that might seem.
Since you didn’t bother to read Xbox Live’s Terms of Service (because, honestly, who reads those things?), I sucked it up, opened up a pack of Livesavers and dove right into the massive 12,000 word document. Between wanting to gouge my eyes out and wondering how much you must get paid to write something like this, I was luckily able to track down what I was looking for.
Microsoft blogger Major Nelson says that a class-action lawsuit filed against the platform holder is prohibiting it from providing status updates on its recently troubled online gaming service Xbox Live.
“Unfortunately… a lawyer has decided to sue us, there is litigation, and once that happens I can no longer make a comment [regarding Xbox Live’s status},” said Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb in his latest podcast.
“I can’t say anything so I apologize, but go talk to the lawyer… That’s all I can say about that,” he adds.
Earlier this month a lawsuit was filed against Microsoft alleging that Xbox Live outages over the Christmas period represented a breach of contract. The suit claims in excess of $5 million in damages.
"In December 2007, Xbox Live crashed and prevented Plaintiffs around the world from accessing online play for several weeks… Microsoft knew the increase in subscriptions would increase game-play on its servers, yet failed to provide adequate access and service to Xbox Live and its subscribers,” it reads.
A week ago, Microsoft unveiled their program to make good to all the Xbox 360 gamers who were affected by the Xbox Live glitches since season.
Meanwhile, the company is talking more about just what went wrong during the tumultuous period.
"We had the biggest concurrent day we've ever had on Live. We had more people than ever signing up on XBL, it was 9 million, then 10 million, and it literally was that a lot more people were trying to get on, sign up and play than we had expected over Christmas," said Xbox group marketing manager Albert Penello to Kotaku.
He explained how it the resulting problems weren't solely because of too many people to sign at once; rather, it was because they were a tad short staffed.
"It's easy when we're all the office in November, but on December 25th, it's harder to get a hold of everybody," he acknowledged.
He's hopeful that the free XBLA title will placate the masses.
"I hope people feel like [giving away a free Live Arcade game] is a fair make good for the inconvenience," said Penello.
Microsoft now faces a lawsuit over recent problems with its Xbox Live online gaming service.
Three Texas residents filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of themselves and others who have had trouble connecting to Xbox Live in recent weeks.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Houston, claims Microsoft's outages represent a breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation for which the software maker is liable. The suit doesn't claim specific damages, but notes the amount is in excess of $5 million.
In the suit, the plaintiffs allege that Microsoft should have known strong holiday sales would tax its servers. "Microsoft knew the increase in subscriptions would increase game-play on its servers, yet failed to provide adequate access and service to Xbox Live and its subscribers."
Microsoft has apologized for the outage and said it would allow Xbox live subscribers to download a free game.
A Microsoft representative was not immediately available for comment.