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XBox (Games)

Xbox Live - The Christmas Zombie 160

Posted by Zonk
from the delicious-tinsel-covered-brains dept.
SEWilco writes "Xbox Live is not working, as mentioned 36 hours ago in an Xbox team blog. Even if you can get logged in, multiplayer matchmaking doesn't find enough players for games. For a while Zune Marketplace was also affected. At present Zune status claims 'Up and running' while Xbox Live status continues to say 'Users may experience intermittent issues logging onto Xbox Live. Our engineers are continuing to investigate and are working to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.' This has been been going on for days." My assumption is that this is the result of lots of new XBLA users logging in with Christmas 360s.
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Xbox Live - The Christmas Zombie

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:17PM (#21867196)
    Quoted from a spokesperson, Heis Afake:

    "We were worried, but while the three new users of our online service did add some strain, we managed to keep it up and running."
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday December 31, 2007 @03:33PM (#21868910)
      If an online service crashes in the woods, and no one is playing it to notice, does it really crash?
  • Predates Christmas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:20PM (#21867228)

    My assumption is that this is the result of lots of new XBLA users logging in with Christmas 360s.
    Not an assumption of mine. On the Firehose before Christmas weekend there were submissions reporting of problems. Though that could have been from people celebrating Christmas early, it seemed far too early still for that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gorbachev (512743)
      XBL seems to be straining. There have been more issues with the service in 2007 than all previous years combined (maybe the beta testing period excluded).

      What's troubling is that the mean time between failure seems to be decreasing sharply, and Microsoft seems to be unable to prevent them from happening at all. And fixing is taking longer and longer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Xzzy (111297)
        Even most of 2007 was pretty rock solid. Things only started going wonky around the time of the fall update. I've been an XBL subscriber since the start and this is the only significant outage they've had that I can remember (note: my brain likes to purge old data points). Yeah, it sucks. But it's not the end of the world. There's plenty of other ways for me to waste my free time so its not like it's my sole source of entertainment.

        I do find it amusing how loudly a lot of people are complaining. The same pe
      • by antek9 (305362)

        What's troubling is that the mean time between failure seems to be decreasing sharply, and Microsoft seems to be unable to prevent them from happening at all. And fixing is taking longer and longer.
        Doesn't this sound just awfully familiar? Maybe the Live core group has been replaced by the Windows quality assurance gurus, or maybe they just 'upgraded' the Live service to the same servers they use for Hotmail?
        • "Doesn't this sound just awfully familiar?"

          Yes. Take just about any service with millions of members and you'll find stories of flakey service at busy times.

          "Maybe the Live core group has been replaced by the Windows quality assurance gurus, or maybe they just 'upgraded' the Live service to the same servers they use for Hotmail?"

          Maybe it's just a really really tough problem to solve. Or is a real-time nation-wide network for millions of games to play on something only Microsoft could screw up on?
    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:24PM (#21867288) Homepage

      Ditto. I got a 360 in mid December or so. XBox Live has been flakey since the day I got it. Sometimes you couldn't log in, sometimes you couldn't get to the marketplace. Just problems and more problems. I was worried that I would be missing something not paying for Live Gold, now I'm glad I didn't. The Christmas set only made things worse.

      My last experience with XBL was in '04-'05 after Halo 2 came out. That was the last time I used the service and it worked fantastically then. This kind of thing didn't happen then.

      I can't say all this surprises me too much. I've ran into more than a few questionable design choices on the 360.

      I hope they get things working better. All they did was reassure me in my decision not to pay them for their "service".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by MoonFog (586818)
        I got Orange Box and Call of Duty 4 for xmas, and COD has really been struggling at times. Playing Team Fortress 2 otoh, has worked very well all the time.
        • by AmaDaden (794446)
          hmm... I wonder is TF2 is hosted by Valve? They might have better servers then MS does. They have been doing the massive online games thing longer.
          • by Luthair (847766)
            I'm not sure how you'd classify anything Valve has done as a 'massive online game', additionally they've historically (just like all other PC FPS games) relied on their user base to host servers.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cheapy (809643)
        It must be you then! GET HIM!

        I started to see problems after the 22nd. Before then, everything worked really well. I thought for a while that it was my wireless connection, but I guess not.

        This is the only time I've seen XBL have issues, so I wouldn't judge it just by now. It's usually great. They just did an update a few weeks ago, so that might've done this.
      • by cplusplus (782679) on Monday December 31, 2007 @02:29PM (#21868140) Journal
        Funny, as a Gold user and 360 owner for a couple years now, I've never really seen any problems until recently (and slight ones at that). I doubt it will last much longer. I've been nothing but impressed with Xbox Live so far, and would be hard pressed to give up my membership.
        • by dryueh (531302)
          Ditto. I've been a subscriber to and user of the xbox live service for over a year now, and I've been nothing but happy with it. It has remained the number one reason why I'm happy I have a 360 and not a PS3. The issues over the past week have been the first time that I've seen glitches in the service.
    • Yup, I was noticing lots of issues with getting signed in the week of 12/16 - 12/23. I've been busy with holiday celebrations, work, and catching up on some reading since then so it hasn't really been an issue for me, but I would be pretty pissed/disappointed if this was my first experience with XBL...

      That being said, I've only experienced one other disruption in service with XBL since I got my 360 in June. Overall I've been pretty darn happy with the experience.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xero314 (722674)

      On the Firehose before Christmas weekend...

      Can someone explain how this is news that hits the main page when other articles in the firehose that are bright ass red and ready to go get completely passed over. I mean the articles about Activision and their proprietary controllers was far more news worthy than XBox Live not being able to handle increased capacity. Seriously is Activision paying the editors here to keep their bad press of the main page or is the anti-Microsoft sentiment just that high.

    • "Though that could have been from people celebrating Christmas early, it seemed far too early still for that."

      If a large demographic of XBOX Live users is 25+, then people home for a couple of weeks from work could have increased traffic dramatically.
    • by tgd (2822)
      I actually wonder if its an XBL problem or a software problem. I installed the winter update and it rebooted and lost most of the menus. A few hours later it seemed to resolve itself but has been hit or miss since then.

      This was probably a week or two before Christmas.
  • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:23PM (#21867272) Journal
    I'm sort of at a crossroads between getting at 360 or a PS3. The main thing driving me to get the 360 is Xbox Live, and it's kind of surprising that they can't handle a surge of new purchases. (Are they not expecting people to buy?) Without Xbox Live, the PS3 looks superior, with a free Blu-Ray drive and Wi-fi attached.
    • Here's what I think happened: people who register new accounts only do so once. The vast majority of a normal user's time is spent playing games. So of course they're not used to a huge influx of new registrations at once - it's not the normal usage of the system. They're ready for everyone once they're all on board, but getting on board is a hassle (registering with secure servers, downloading updates, etc.) It'll go back to normal in very short order I assume.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kevlarcowboy (996973)
        While we are both speculating, I think it is related to the load on the Windows Live, .NET, ect. servers. Windows Live messenger was acting flaky for a friend the same time I was having XBOX Live login problems. Zune Marketplace is also an extension of these services.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oahazmatt (868057)
          Actually, I've noticed it is not XBL that I've been having problems connecting to, but the Messenger, as you've noted was having trouble. I can get signed in, play online games, etc, but Messenger will not load.
      • by x-caiver (458687)
        Yep, I'd wager you were right about that. Major game release days (like Gears of War and Halo 3) didn't see this type of issue. It is likely that most of the people who flooded online for either of those matchmaking early on already had Live accounts.
        • by trdrstv (986999)

          Yep, I'd wager you were right about that. Major game release days (like Gears of War and Halo 3) didn't see this type of issue. It is likely that most of the people who flooded online for either of those matchmaking early on already had Live accounts.

          Though it wasn't quite this flakey, there WERE issues related to the HALO 3 release. Like this Live was never down, but it was 3 days until things got smoothed out. The thing was I expected it then, and simply laughed it off. (That and I was knee deep into

      • by Endo13 (1000782)
        Just one small problem with that hypothesis. This is not the first Christmas since XBL was started. Not even close. I haven't seen any numbers, but I'd guess the number of new subscribers for during this time period was far lower than it has been in the past for similar time periods.

        I would say the most plausible explanation is simply that MS fucked something up in the recent update. The good news about that is, if it's something they fucked up they can also fix it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      It's not people buying new Xboxes. After all, when Halo 2 and Halo 3 came out, Xbox Live had no trouble handling the additional load from people who don't normally play on Live. I think it's related to their last software update, or perhaps some shenanigans from some game title out there now.

      That said, this isn't a total outage. I logged on to Live just yesterday, sent some Viva Pinata items to a friend (yes, make fun of me, I played Viva Pinata!) and everything worked fine. If I hadn't seen this article, I
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by antek9 (305362)
      I'm still curious as to why Xbox Live would normally have you sold, especially considering that PSN gets better with every update (as opposed to, well, XBL, as it seems). You can of course sit and wait how this plays out, maybe the introduction of Home (only, when?) tips you over, or Little Big Planet or whatever.

      And there is one thing you forgot: You can install Ubuntu on a PS3, legally. Come on, it's time for another chance, don't you think? ;)
    • I researched value propositions of these consoles before, PS3's online multiplayer is free while XBL costs $50 for a year. So in 3 years ownership of 360 it costs you more than PS3.
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      Actually, the problems started after an update. I think the rush to get the update out before Christmas is what caused this, not the rush of new people. Most people will agree that the games catalogue for the Xbox 360 is the best out of any of the major next-gen consoles, and that with Xbox Live is what sold it to me. Plus they keep on working on the software emulation, which is nice too. Ninja Gaiden is quite fun ;)
  • They've not had _that_ massive an increase in subscriptions, surely? Not when you look percentage-wise, anyway. And yet this is the first time I've seen it so flaky, ever, after years as a subscriber. Outright down we've had, yes, but this is like it's straining under some DDOS or something; everything is there, but slow as molasses and times out a lot.
  • The outages in service hasn't stopped the usual flood of people (I mean, morons) I don't know trying to friend me on Live.

    Anyways, anyone that expects 100% uptime out of a network is kidding themselves.
    • I don't expect 100 percent uptime, but the current situation is not acceptable.

      Hell, I'd rather have no XBL than an unusable XBL.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by JensenDied (1009293)
        I have to agree, I've taken to just unplugging my cable from my 360, playing any game that updates stats online (Forza Motorsport 2, I'm looking at you) seems to want to hang out after submitting until you become disconnected, since this process is blocking, and occurs before saving this one act can take well over the length of time it takes to: a) sit through loading screens b) race and finish c) watch the ai race and finish the course(several times) d) finish a temple on zelda e) come back and disconnect
  • I sent my friend in Indy a 360, so we could meet up online for some friendly frags, and I haven't been able to get on live at all! This is really starting to get old for a paid service...
  • Gotta add more (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by pembo13 (770295)
    RedHat boxes to help with the load.
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Slashdot Suxxors (1207082) on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:31PM (#21867398)
    Who cares what the problem is? Just fix the damn service already. I pay Microsoft for XBL. It had better damn work. Me not being able to host a private match with some of my buddies for days on end is fucking ridiculous.
  • Let's be fair... (Score:1, Informative)

    by dprust (316840) *
    Let's be fair, here. I've run into this problem a lot lately too and it was annoying. But, for the most part, XBL has been stable and amazing. I'm sure they'll work it out. It's too early to spit too much hate about Microsoft and how stupid they are. The XBOX 360 is a marvel of design and XBL revolutionized on-line play. That's just plain fact, no IMHOs here.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The XBOX 360 is a marvel of design and XBL revolutionized on-line play.

      I can only assume you're British, as this is sarcastic wit at its finest, good sir! Pip, pip, and cheerio!
    • Yeah, I'll have to agree that XBL revolutionized online play. Microsoft managed to convince console gamers to pay for what PC gamers have had free for years, that takes serious skill.
      • As a PC gamer for over a decade, I haven't ever had one centralised, unified online play centre for all my games in the same manner as the Xbox has XBox Live. While some were OK, for other games I have played in my time, I would certainly have paid for them to have had a better interface for online play, thats for sure!
        • Well, we'll have to agree to disagree then. I've never found the way PC games handle their multiplayer to be lacking in the slightest, so I'm rather disgusted that Microsoft offers for a fee what I can get for free, and just as good, elsewhere.
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday December 31, 2007 @01:42PM (#21867536)
    ...... Even if you can get logged in, multiplayer matchmaking doesn't find enough players for games. ........ My assumption is that this is the result of lots of new XBLA users logging in with Christmas 360s.

    So your theory is that because of a lot of new players, Microsoft can't find enough players for games? Would you care to rethink that theory?

    • ...... Even if you can get logged in, multiplayer matchmaking doesn't find enough players for games. ........ My assumption is that this is the result of lots of new XBLA users logging in with Christmas 360s.

      So your theory is that because of a lot of new players, Microsoft can't find enough players for games? Would you care to rethink that theory?

      Or it could be that countless new XBLA users are repeatedly trying to long onto Xbox Live, creating something like a distributed denial of service effect, which not only makes long-ins next to impossible, but also makes it difficult to stay logged in and finally negatively affects other services, like servers and match-maker too. Care to rethink your reply?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by halcyon1234 (834388)
      Fry: No one drove in New York. There was too much traffic.
  • This is one of the reasons I haven't embraced gaming platforms, and prefer to do my gaming on a computer. At least with a computer, there are LAN gaming options (although some game platforms may have LAN gaming capabilities, they don't seem to be as flexible or easy to set up, or even as well thought-out).

    This is coupled with the fact that there are many more computer games that have an offline campaign/career/single-player mode, and the newer games for PS3/XBox/etc that even bother to have a single-player
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Xzzy (111297)
      At least with a computer, there are LAN gaming options (although some game platforms may have LAN gaming capabilities, they don't seem to be as flexible or easy to set up, or even as well thought-out).

      Every xbox game I have ever played that supported any kind of multiplayer also supported LAN based play. In fact early on, before XBL was running, it was all the games supported. Was one of the most painless things you could experience as well. Wire up all the xboxes to a hub, and every xbox that turned on wou
      • by BlueStrat (756137)
        At least with a computer, there are LAN gaming options (although some game platforms may have LAN gaming capabilities, they don't seem to be as flexible or easy to set up, or even as well thought-out).

        Every xbox game I have ever played that supported any kind of multiplayer also supported LAN based play. In fact early on, before XBL was running, it was all the games supported. Was one of the most painless things you could experience as well. Wire up all the xboxes to a hub, and every xbox that turned on wou
      • You must not have played Burnout 3 or Revenge, which have Live play but no LAN mode (at least on the original Xbox). I wouldn't be surprised if other EA games are like that. Although Timesplitters 3 has LAN play and had Live play until EA shut the server down. EA had to be stubborn assholes and use their own servers instead of Microsoft's.
        And I'm assuming by "any kind of multiplayer" you mean "any kind of online multiplayer", as there are many local multiplayer only games.
      • In fact, I haven't even noticed the XBLive outages because on the first day of my time off I hooked up two Xboxes and have only played LAN games.

        It even autoswitches so you don't need a crossover cable.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      This is one of the reasons I haven't embraced gaming platforms, and prefer to do my gaming on a computer. At least with a computer, there are LAN gaming options (although some game platforms may have LAN gaming capabilities, they don't seem to be as flexible or easy to set up, or even as well thought-out).

      Xbox (and Xbox 360, natch) has a very well thought-out, flexible and easy-to-set-up LAN gaming capability. They call it "System Link." You don't even need crossover ethernet cables, all the ports are auto-
  • Its been 61 days since my family has been able to play most of the downloaded content. I sent my xbox in for the red rings of death and when I got it back my content didn't work. I've been escalated repeatedly I've been told I would have to re-purchase all of my content I've been told I was violating federal law by recording the conversation....from someone in a foreign country. Told it would be fixed within 30 days When that failed and it wasn't and I stated they had said it would be within 30 days they
    • by greywar (640908)
      gah preview is your friend. I had it all nicely formatted..which didn't come through.
    • by Asmor (775910)
      How did you lose your content?

      DRM sucks, but I haven't had such an onerous problem with DRM and I'm on my 3rd or 4th Xbox.

      As long as you still have access to the gamertag used to purchase the content, as long as that gamertag's signed in you should be able to use it.
      • by mythosaz (572040)
        The problem is that this week, with the XBL outages, you can't sign in as yourself -- at all. So you're stuck not being able play your own games IF you switched to a new 360 and you need your gamertag to validate ownership.
        • by Asmor (775910)
          Indeed, but I haven't seen these problems persisting for the past 61 days, as the parent complained.

          Particularly vexing is that my fiancée and I have been trying to watch a show encoded in DivX... For some stupid reason, the freely-available DivX updated doesn't work unless you're signed in to Xbox Live. Now that's just stupid.
  • Xbox Live is completely fine for 360 (no pun intended) or so days of the year, and some of these new users are going to get bad first impressions of the Xbox Live system. It would be nice if I could play games though, my disc tray will not stay shut and I cannot play any of my new games, woohoo!
  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Monday December 31, 2007 @04:17PM (#21869360)
    Did anyone see the Xbox Live status at xbox.com/support? It says "Status: Users may experience intermittent issues with login, account recovery, matchmaking, and statistics. We are aware of the issue and are actively working towards a resolution. We apologize for any inconvenience.". Reminds me of a classic Microsoft joke: A helicopter was flying around above Seattle yesterday when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft's electronic navigation and communication equipment. Due to the clouds and haze the pilot could not determine his position or course to steer to the airport. The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, drew a handwritten sign and held it in the helicopter's window. The sign said "WHERE AM I ?" in large letters. People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign and held it in a building window. Their sign said, "YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER." The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map and determine the course to steer to SEATAC (Seattle/Tacoma) airport and landed safely. After they were on the ground, the co-pilot asked the pilot how the "YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER" sign helped determine their position. The pilot responded, "I knew that had to be the MICROSOFT building because they gave me a technically correct but completely useless answer."
  • When they released halo 3 and other games were affected by it XBL and ubi service just ignored tickets, and many people on /. barked at me, that my connection sucked. Turned out, that it wasn't the problem, and they applied a silent fix.

    This time interestingly I played every night through the Christmas (except 24th night), 25-28 every night, and COD4/RS Vegas, games that were affected according to many.
    I saw no problems at all. 31st has a huge amount of "host ended the game" errors. Not sure if people were

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