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XBox (Games)

Microsoft Apologizes for XBL Downtime With Undertow 85

Posted by Zonk
from the very-thoughtful-and-damp dept.
The extraordinary problems that Microsoft's Xbox Live experienced over the holidays were followed up with swift promises of a free game to compensate for the frustration many users suffered. The company has followed through, and has announced that Undertow will be the free game sacrificed to mollify gamers. The game will be free to download all this week, starting tomorrow (Wednesday) and running through this Sunday. "Two weeks ago, Xbox Live GM Marc Whitten posted a letter to Live subscribers apologizing for poor performance during the holidays and promising a freebie was on the way. There are currently no plans to offer a substitute game for those who already own Undertow." Just the same, Major Nelson sent along word to 360 Fanboy that they'd 'take care of you' if you found yourself in that situation.
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Microsoft Apologizes for XBL Downtime With Undertow

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  • I bet the Silver members will have to wait their turn to get their consolation prize.
    • Re:Gold vs. Silver (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pthor1231 (885423) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:30PM (#22142944)
      Seeing as you don't actually pay anything for the Silver service, vs the Gold, I would consider this a bonus to silver members, assuming they get it. The free game is compensation for lost ability to use the services you paid for, namely multiplayer online gaming.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        XBL outages don't just mean that online multiplayer is unavailable. It also means that you can't download demos and trailers, and that you can't shop the XBL Marketplace.
        • by pthor1231 (885423)
          But the key part is, you don't lose any paid time. Downloading the demos, trailers, etc will all be there until XBL crumbles. Someone who purchased a three month Gold membership only has three months to do those Gold activities.
          • You also can't recover your profile, which sometimes means you can't really play your xbox. That DOES effect silver members.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by DeeDob (966086)
            Access to the silver service is included with the purchase of any 360.

            Without access to Live, both silver and gold members cannot access parts of their 360.

            Online gaming (gold) is just a small part of the Live service. MSN, marketplace, chat, mailing service, achievements system, leaderboards and more are all part of the package. Xbox live arcade games played on a friend's 360 also need to access Live in order to work beyond the trial versions.

            Enetring my profile, then having to wait for 5 minutes until a c
          • by Asmor (775910)
            No, but instead, if you have arcade titles you bought on a different Xbox which you've since had to replace, you'll be unable to play those titles if Live isn't up.
      • Xbox's silver benefits are advertised. That's an expressed warranty that if you get a 360, this service is part of the product.

        Just because Silver subscribers do not pay additional fees does not mean they don't deserve to use what they already paid for.

        And of course, we all know what the xbots would say if the PS3 network, you know, the free one that works, was this unreliable. Or if the PS3 itself was this unreliable. Or if PS3 owners were gouged, for example with $100 wifi adaptors that certainly cost
      • Seeing as you don't actually pay anything for the Silver service, vs the Gold

        Ignoring the $399 people paid for the console that was advertised as offering it.

        I don't pay a monthly service fee to Microsoft to "permit" net access on my PC either. I bought the OS with it made pretty clear that I could reasonably expect access as part of what I'd already paid. If they sent out a forced update to all copies of XP that disabled net access in an effort to encourage users to move to Vista, I'd consider it pretty legitimate to be pissed off there too.

        Apologists let them get away with sellin

      • by iainl (136759)
        The free game is almost entirely aimed at the multiplayer deathmatch crowd, so not a hell of a lot of fun for Silver members. Clever.
      • I paid about 80 USD for the year (I got the bundle thing with the camera) so if it were completely down for a full week I'd be out about 1.54 USD. Microsoft giving me 10.00 USD worth of extra service is pretty nice of them I think.

        I do think the whole gold and silver thing should go away and the whole thing should be free (still buying points to get games/movies/useless crap if you want), and while that might be more likely to happen with the playstation network being free, I kinda doubt it ever will.

    • Why should Silver members get anything? They weren't paying, so they didn't suffer any material loss whatsoever. Whether the outages were excessive for a $50/year payment is one question, but I don't see how Silver can complain. Heck, what can you even do with Silver other than download updates and post a Gamerscore?
      • Heck, what can you even do with Silver other than download updates and post a Gamerscore?
        They can download trailers and demos, and can still buy content from the XBL Marketplace.
      • Silver members were unavailable to access content that they bought (say, extra rockband songs), but couldn't use since logging into xbox live was made impossible. They couldn't use something they paid for, so compensating them seems only fair.
    • by Is0m0rph (819726)
      You didn't pay for the service that had problems. You shouldn't get anything at all.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Actually, I was a gold member at the time. I let it expire, and as of tomorrow I'm a silver member. Also, not all of the gold members are paying gold members. When you first join Xbox Live, you get a free month's worth of gold membership for the same reason that the first month of World of WarCrack is free.
    • by Morkano (786068)
      According to the second article both gold AND silver get the game for free tomorrow.
  • by Ghazgkull (83434) * on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:28PM (#22142914)
    This just in: XBL unavailable again due to the massive demand for (the ironically named) Undertow.
    • by oahazmatt (868057)

      This just in: XBL unavailable again due to the massive demand for (the ironically named) Undertow.
      Actually, last night I was in the XBLA and received errors when browsing through various titles. So I might have to mod you -1 jinx.
    • by robosmurf (33876) *
      Actually, I have indeed been having trouble downloading stuff from XBLA (including Undertow) - it keeps giving me intermittent errors.
    • by rwven (663186)
      My XBL problems never got better in the first place. I still can't seem to get logged in about 90%+ of the time. Really dang annoying.
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      Actually, I had some trouble downloading Undertow. I kept getting an error stating that content was not available or just getting the same error I got when XBL was down. So while you were modded funny, what you suggested did happen.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      Your preface is prologue. I've been unable to get it. And there's like a three day window.

      Not that I really care. I think Microsoft needs to apologize for this apology. But I just won't be renewing. Hell, at this rate, I may as well cancel outright.
  • Scary... (Score:3, Funny)

    by vjmurphy (190266) on Tuesday January 22, 2008 @04:49PM (#22143358) Homepage
    "Major Nelson sent along word to 360 Fanboy that they'd 'take care of you' if you found yourself in that situation."

    Sounds a little scary to me. I can just imagine some burly Microsoft tech taking a baseball bat to my 360. Or kneecaps.
    • I wouldn't worry about "burly" in this case as "tech burly" generally means slow moving thundering hambeast. So as long as you're not cornered in a small room and/or in possesion of pie, you should be all good.
    • If the baseball bat was made by Microsoft, it might break as soon as the technician takes a swing.
    • Does this solution for people who already bought Undertow seem like a real after-thought to anyone else? (This 'word' coming as a comment instead of part of the original post being my first hint.) I mean if they really cared about those of us who actually bought Undertow, they would just check the records and give us the points instead of making us jump the support hoops.
  • by AbRASiON (589899) *
    According to Wikipedia it starts on Wednesday January 23'rd and finishes on Sunday the 27'th, that's a very small time window.
    Thanks to them not thinking of time zones internationally (again!), I for one happen to be away from any kind of technology for exactly that period (plus a day) - that's not cool.

    I wouldn't have any serious beef except the fact that people PAID MONEY for a service which was not available to them, much like paying for electricity, cable tv, water, gas, cell phone etc.

    As someone who ha
    • by mythosaz (572040)
      No, they still haven't turned a profit.
      No, games aren't $100 ea.
      A "Year" of Live is 13 months.

      If you feel this service isn't worth it, please don't buy it.
      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        Yes that have announced their first profitable quarter.
        What part of Australia don't you get? Australian games are 99$ -> 119$ (RRP)
        13 months schmirteen months, you're paying for what's free on the competing platforms.

        I don't feel the service is worth it and due to other issues with them not knowing how to manage a simple database
        (http://forums.xbox.com/17297131/ShowPost.aspx)
        I doubt I'll redeem the 12 month (sorry, 13 month) card sitting in my drawer.
        • by amohat (88362)
          But didn't you also list prices in USD? One of the few times i would have modded down if I had the chance...
          • by AbRASiON (589899) *
            I list both prices and follow US news extensively, I generally post US prices so that the majority of the comment readers understand my complaint.

            You could have moderated down, you just would have been stupid to have done so.
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)
      Why complain before you even attempt to correct the situation? Call/e-mail support and explain the situation. You might be able to get that download or perhaps some additional compensation (such as some points). I understand it's more fun to complain on slashdot, but...
      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        I'm pointing out how cheap it comes across, maybe I will call them - but I've heard their helpdesk is far from useful (yet it was back in the XB1 days when they had barely any members)
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I think it's a great deal, considering that as as daily XBL gold user, I haven't really noticed any problems other than slow response times connecting, and an error signing into messenger. As of today, things seem much snappier in the menus though. Joining online games has been problem free (Halo3, COD4, GRAW2). I'll take the game anyway, of course.
    • Yes, yes I know they provide a good service with Live and yes I know infrastructure isn't free but hey Sony's service is free.
      Before anyone says it, it is not even HALF as bad as people claim, it may not be as good as live but it's certainly not terrible (see: Wii)

      Compare Xbox Live to Steam, and it's hard to see what exactly Microsoft is providing for $50/year.

      Friends list and notifications? Check. Clans? Check. Achievements? Check. Gamer profiles? Check. Voice chat and instant messaging? Check. Downloadable content store with demos, trailers, and full games? Check. Automatic game updates? Check. Instant access to network features during a game? Check.

      But Steam does all that for free.

      Oh, and Steam also lets you play on dedicated servers: more players in each game, l

      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        Yes the steam comparison is fantastic, great example - not only that but to my knowledge Steam has just as many members as Xbox live,........ pretty good service when you think about it (and it's come a long way)

        50$ US a year - but 70$ US a year for the Australians too - let alone other countries which get taken advantage of.
        (this is not a physical product, it needs no region coding, it needs no language changes, it's a subscription, why 20% more expensive? - sad)

      • by Zebra_X (13249)
        Well now, I didn't expect that one...

        Do you know what Steam is short for? Steaming pile of shit.

        That is perhaps the worst piece of software I've used.

        It takes forever to load (on a dual dual core with a raid 0 (2x 150 raptors) and a 8800). 3rd party games are completely unsupported (oh but they will sell them to you). I bought Call of Duty 4 and could not play it for weeks. Even halflife had issues with crashing and such. Apparently the anti cheat software wasn't compatible with vista 64. meanwhile back at
        • by Mr2001 (90979)

          Do you know what Steam is short for? Steaming pile of shit. That is perhaps the worst piece of software I've used.

          Sorry to hear it. My experience, on the other hand, has been almost perfect. There's been some downtime, but never for as long as XBL was down, and in any case it's free so I can put up with a little less than five nines of reliability.

          Never had any crashes, but there have been a few times when I've had to restart Steam because some of my games disappeared from the list. Each time, Steam has come back up quickly, loading faster than iTunes or Trillian.

          Of course, I'm using XP, not Vista. Maybe that's your p

        • by AbRASiON (589899) *
          Oh god you're one of 'those' guys, convinced Steam is still shit from back early 2001 or whenever it was launched.
          It's a very very very different service now, if you're having problems with the latest builds of steam on a modern machine, go have your machine looked at.
    • 99$ -> 119$ for a game (RRP) 89$ for a cheap, plastic headset*1 and 12 months of live

      As a fellow Australian, it's my duty to tell you you are bring ripped off, big time. Shop around, you should get heaps better prices than that for games.
      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        That's not the point of my post, hence RRP
        The Xbox 360 is also cheaper than 569$ - that doesn't change the fact the RRP is 569$

        We pay RRP 99 -> 119$ RRP for games, the Americans pay 49.99 -> 59.99$ RRP for their games.

        both markets we can get deals, the sad thing is the Americans START 25% lower than us in cost on items which are basically IDENTICAL, it's not like they do a control R to replace all instances of color with colour for us now is it?

        • Don't forget to blame your government for the fact that you pay more in Australia. In the US, retail prices do not reflect sales taxes, as sales tax is levied by state and local governments. We don't have a VAT or a GST in the US. Australia does, and that tax is factored into the retail price. So, if you think you're getting fucked in the ass, take a look at Canberra before you blame the manufacturers.

          By the way, I know about the GST because I've been to Australia, and my wife's an Aussie.

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      I like my 360 and I'm happy with it.

      But I have to ask: Why the hell do you continue to pay them if you are -so- unhappy with them? Seems to me your time and money might be better spent elsewhere while they wake up and realize they can't dick people around simply because they don't live in the US. Of course, they'd realize this a -lot- sooner if people would quit throwing money at them despite the bad service.
      • by AbRASiON (589899) *
        I purchased the 12 month card but haven't redeemed it, until I am allowed to have *MY* gamertag back, I will not be redeeming the card.
    • by sabinm (447146)
      Yes, you're right. As a symbolic gesture, they should offer the free download in a window that closely approximates the time that the service was unavailable for Live's users.

      Are you listening, Major Nelson?
    • by ender- (42944)
      According to Wikipedia it starts on Wednesday January 23'rd and finishes on Sunday the 27'th, that's a very small time window.
      Thanks to them not thinking of time zones internationally (again!), I for one happen to be away from any kind of technology for exactly that period (plus a day) - that's not cool.


      I'm in a slightly different, but equally annoying situation.
      My Xbox got the RROD. I sent it into the repair depot, and it just arrived there this weekend. I was told it would be 2-3 weeks before I get it [or
  • I feel that if they were going to compensate paying subscribers for their inconvenience over the holidays, that free points would have been the right way to go. Instead, they chose an XBLA title that 1) was already widely downloaded and 2) was very widely panned by gamers. It has its fans like any game, sure, but I would say that a large population of gamers I've talked with about it don't like the game and would've enjoyed the chance to pick out what THEY wanted instead of what Microsoft felt like parting
    • by krakelohm (830589)
      I think your still missing the point that they did not have to do this. I agree that having your service down for a few days sucks but I think they are making good.
      • by 40ozFreak (823002)
        I know they didn't have to, but if they're going to give out something for free, they could've done a better job of evaluating what that reward would be. There were a lot of people that were angry or irritated by the XBL troubles, and giving them a game that had been out for ages and wasn't rated very highly is a poor patch-up decision, in my opinion.
      • by Raenex (947668)

        I think your still missing the point that they did not have to do this.
        Depends on where you live. In some places Microsoft can't disavow any guarantee of service -- which means they owe the members either a refund or an extension to the service. That would be the right thing to do, not offering some crap game as a freebie.
  • Gee thanks Microsoft, thanks a pant-load. Just what I wanted, a game that I have absolutely no interest in, that got terrible reviews to boot!

    Awesome, you rock like week-old, half-eaten oatmeal. Why do I even bother paying for Live?
  • This is the second time they've offered a free XBLA game that I already purchased. So what is my recompense for not having a service available that I paid for? Why should I be passed over because I already bought the game?

    Result, I get nothing while others get a bone tossed to them because, ironically, I gave them money where others did not.
    • Actually, you can contact XBox tech support and they will credit your account with 800 points. (Or something like that)
  • Anybody know the relative size of this game's download?
    • XBLA Games were all supposed to fit on a 64MB Memory card.. so it'll be less than that.

      last I looked it was something around 53MB
      • by nuzak (959558)
        > XBLA Games were all supposed to fit on a 64MB Memory card

        50 megs was the old limit, but it's been 250 megs for some time now. Microsoft is supposedly willing to bump that to 450MB on a case-by-case basis (not sure they've ever had to). They do make 512MB memory cards for people who just won't do the HDD thing...

    • 49MB
    • I downloaded it yesterday - 49.15MB XLA games are supposed to stay under 64MB, but if I recall they lifted that limit
  • That'd be just peachy if my brand new Xbox 360 that I bought a couple weeks ago wasn't just shipped off to Microsoft to be repaired for RRoD. I bought the new one to replace the one I've had for two-and-a-half years. The old one had disc drive issues and begin to freeze regularly and finally RRoD also. Now I'm going to miss the free game because the window is too short. Anyone got a Wii for sale?
    • by enderjsv (1128541)
      you know, most stores have a 90 day exchange policy on electronics. You probably could have just exchanged it at the store for a working one.
      • Nope. Bought it from Hastings, they wouldn't take it back. They have a no-return policy on Xbox 360s alone. You can return your wii or ps3, but not your 360. They told me to talk to Microsoft.
        • by powerlord (28156)

          Nope. Bought it from Hastings, they wouldn't take it back. They have a no-return policy on Xbox 360s alone. You can return your wii or ps3, but not your 360. They told me to talk to Microsoft.

          Wow. I wonder how many broken 360s they had to replace to force a policy change like that. The only electronics I know stores usually have a policy like that on, are TVs over 30" in size (where there might be a scratch or something in the plastic case, or on the screen, or a defective pixel). In those cases they expl

  • I was unknowingly included in a class-action suit against my former wireless provider, and received part of the settlement (minutes to be used on any network, nothing impressive).

    Now, this has gotten me wondering if by downloading this game there is some sort of clause or recognition on Microsoft's part that you have in fact accepted this as acceptible compensation, barring you from raising any future disputes about the issue.

    Can anyone confirm this?
  • I'm not sure how many are taking the cancellation route but after being stuck in limbo due to a Gamer Tag recovery gone bad it's too little too late. I would have been happy to take advantage of intermittent service. Spent almost two weeks playing as a lowly guest on Halo 3 waiting 10-15 minutes for a match from various consoles/homes. Too many slow to non-existent replies to emails.

    Seriously, if they aren't giving you the service you paid for or expect then leave. It sucks because for many like myself m

  • Having now downloaded and played the game, I can say this is pure Microsoft.

    "To make up for failing to live up to our promises, we're going to take a big, greasy dump on your chest. You're welcome."

    I thought I'd be hard-pressed to find a game on the 360 worse than Bullet Witch. I was wrong.

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