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.
In a statement to the press released tonight, Marc Whitten, the General Manager of Microsoft's Xbox Live service for the Xbox 360, has apologized for technical issues on the service over the holidays, due to the "massive increase in usage" from new members - and offered an Xbox Live Arcade title for free by way of compensation.
According to comments by Whitten received by Gamasutra, the Xbox Live GM explained the outages on the service as follows:
"During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox Live records. This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox Live in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service.
As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox Live issues over the holiday break. While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance. I would like to take this moment to thank you each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as our team has worked around the clock to return the service to a stable state.
I’ve been saying Xbox Live is chock full of weirdos, but this one takes the cake so far. In Saratoga Springs, New York, 20-year old Joshua Stetar met a 15-year old girl, who was living in Spokane, Washington, through playing Halo online over a year ago.
He apparently found her address online and began sending packages and flowers to her home, all of which her parents returned.
He also sent several hundred text messages to her cell phone, which forced her parents to change her number. But he managed to find her new number by “Googling” her and then drove 40 hours straight to her neighborhood. At around 9 pm on Friday, he sent a text message saying that he was driving by her house; her parents in fact saw his car pass by. Then at 9:36, he sent a message reading, “Tell the cops that I’m gonna rape you and your sister.” The girl’s parents called the police, who found Stetar at a nearby motel. After interrogating him, police learned that he had actually visited Spokane earlier and drove by the girl’s house in a rented U-Haul truck, which the girl’s parents were unaware of. He also had apparently been sending numerous text messages to the girl’s cousin, who lives in Billings, Montana, over the summer, until the police called him and told him to stop. He was booked in the Spokane County Jail on one count of felony stalking, but was released on Saturday on bond.
Wow, what a creepy, creepy guy. Let this be a lesson to you kids: Xbox Live is full of freaks and weirdos, so don’t give them your real name or anything. Man, it’s like the new MySpace or something.