The Xbox Live outage over the weekend of April 13th and 14th (though only reported as several hours on April 13th I had issues for nearly 24 hours) could have not possibly come at a worse time. The internet is still raging at the idea of the next Microsoft console requiring an always online connection, and there is still constant talk of the recent public comments that forced the departure of Adam Orth from Microsoft. Sprinkle a Call of Duty Double XP weekend where matchmaking is broken and group chat and parties don’t work, and Microsoft is setting the table where they will be the main course.
The issues started on Saturday April 13th and per Microsoft, all services were back up and fully operational later that evening. My experience, as well as that of some friends, stretched into the next day. I began having Xbox Live connectivity issues early Saturday afternoon as reported, but it wasn’t until Sunday April 14th that I was able to actually sign in to to my Xbox Live account. My friends list was still not populating correctly until I was logged in for nearly 10 minutes, and only a few of my friends who were currently online did show. Attempting to start a voice chat/party session would cause my entire system to lock up, forcing a hard reboot. By 11am EST I was finally able to join a party for voice chat so I tried to join some friends for Call of Duty. After 15 minutes of attempts to join them for various game sessions and types, I decided to just settle for chatting with them while I played with random people. I had errands to run and didn’t log back on. I understand not every user was affected the same way, feel free to comment below and let me know about your experience.
I was nearly convinced this was the work of Anonymous or another group trying to make some point about the dangers of always online. It seemed too great a coincidence to happen in this particular time frame. Microsoft has squashed those rumors and announced that it was their error. “There was a configuration error during routine maintenance…” that caused the outage as reported by Geekwire. I am shocked and I hope it is true and not a cover up, because there are no more secrets on the internet. Sony didn’t do themselves any favors with their first reports when they were hacked last year and it only made things worse once the truth came out.
I am not here to complain, but I want to make the point that Microsoft needs to get the PR heavy artillery out and grab their marketing team by the horns and start getting out some positive messages out about their next console. They need to set the record straight about what their always online actually means and what kind of experiences you can expect. They need to quell any and every fear that they can and stop assuming they can take their current lead and just coast into the next generation. Sony has a solid lead, they said most of the right things at their press conference and they are showing they have learned from their past mistakes. They need to get out in front of this before more leaks happen out of context and their actual announcement is lost in the negativity.