Microsoft promises free game after online woes

I saw this article on Yahoo!:


Fri Jan 4, 12:14 AM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) (MSFT.O) said on Thursday it will offer a free downloadable video game to users of its Xbox online gaming service after the network was plagued with connection troubles over the holidays.

Xbox Live General Manager Mark Whitten said the problems stemmed from a "massive increase" in new users of the service over the holiday season, when sales of video game hardware and software surge.

"While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance," Whitten said in a statement.

Whitten said all Xbox Live members around the world would be able to freely download one game over the service. Games sold on Xbox Live typically cost from $5 to $20, and Whitten said Microsoft would give details of the offer in the coming weeks.

Before the holiday sales surge, Xbox Live had more than eight million members, many of whom were paying $50 a year for the premium service that lets them play online against others.

Whitten did not give details of the cause of the problems, but gaming Web sites and forums have been filled in recent days with complaints from users frustrated with the inability to sign on to the service or play online.

(Reporting by Scott Hillis; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

I'd rather they just handed out Microsoft Points, because I need more Rockband Songs!

doublepost

Honestly, I would rather have them just concentrate on getting Live back up than trying to hand out free stuff.

Dr._J wrote:
Honestly, I would rather have them just concentrate on getting Live back up than trying to hand out free stuff.

Or both.

It doesn't take much to flip a flag on some piece of downloadable content, they can be fixing the network at the same time...

Whitten said Microsoft would give details of the offer in the coming weeks.

The "coming weeks?" Is that so they can get Live ready for the MASSIVE number of downloads?

$20 says it'll be one of those adverware based XBLA games like Yaris that probably would've been free anyway.

Dr._J wrote:
Honestly, I would rather have them just concentrate on getting Live back up than trying to hand out free stuff.

The marketing guys behind such a scheme wouldn't be very helpful in a server room where these problems will be fixed :p

polypusher wrote:
Dr._J wrote:
Honestly, I would rather have them just concentrate on getting Live back up than trying to hand out free stuff.

The marketing guys behind such a scheme wouldn't be very helpful in a server room where these problems will be fixed :p

IMAGE(http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/3755/dilbert09122004oh9.gif)

Nei wrote:
polypusher wrote:
Dr._J wrote:
Honestly, I would rather have them just concentrate on getting Live back up than trying to hand out free stuff.

The marketing guys behind such a scheme wouldn't be very helpful in a server room where these problems will be fixed :p

You made my day with that... This has been done here so many times that i lost count.

Yeah, a free game is nice and all but please fix your horribly broken pay service first.

And it will be a game everyone already has like Uno.

$20 says it'll be one of those adverware based XBLA games like Yaris that probably would've been free anyway.

I'll take you up on that.

Not saying it won't be Frogger... but MS isn't *that* thrifty

TheWalt wrote:

Xbox Live General Manager Mark Whitten said the problems stemmed from a "massive increase" in new users of the service over the holiday season, when sales of video game hardware and software surge.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they didn't just muck up the service on purpose to claim they had a plethora of new members during the holidays, ie. Nintendo and the N64 and Wii "shortages."

stupidhaiku wrote:
The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they didn't just muck up the service on purpose to claim they had a plethora of new members during the holidays, ie. Nintendo and the N64 and Wii "shortages."

The conspiracy theorist in me says that the new Folding at Home 'client' update is behind this...

I don't get why the complaints. It's a free game!

Nintendo was pretty crappy on the online store and they offered nothing during the holidays.

Oh, and from what I hear, Blizzard f*cks up everytime a patch is released, and they don't offer even an extra month or anything.

The last time I was supposed to get a free XBLA game from Microsoft, they sent me an invalid code instead. So I don't exactly have high hopes for them this time around.

Mex wrote:
I don't get why the complaints. It's a free game!

Nintendo was pretty crappy on the online store and they offered nothing during the holidays.

Oh, and from what I hear, Blizzard f*cks up everytime a patch is released, and they don't offer even an extra month or anything.

I don't think that's the case with Blizzard though I don't know at all.

I really just don't have any faith in MS to offer anything good for a game anyway but such is life

I was truly shocked last night when Microsoft refused to let me give them money. I was completely unable to upgrade from silver to gold.
And now today I can not sign in to zune.net to grab some new music.

WiredAsylum wrote:
I was truly shocked last night when Microsoft refused to let me give them money. I was completely unable to upgrade from silver to gold.
And now today I can not sign in to zune.net to grab some new music.

Maybe their bank account was full

stupidhaiku wrote:
TheWalt wrote:

Xbox Live General Manager Mark Whitten said the problems stemmed from a "massive increase" in new users of the service over the holiday season, when sales of video game hardware and software surge.

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if they didn't just muck up the service on purpose to claim they had a plethora of new members during the holidays, ie. Nintendo and the N64 and Wii "shortages."

Didn't they sell something like 4 million consoles in the last quarter? That has to put a major load on the servers...particularly since everyone is playing the same games.

Mex wrote:
I don't get why the complaints. It's a free game!

Yeah, I don't get it either Mex. At best, I will be able to get another XBox original gratis, or maybe something cool from XBLA, like Lumines. Nothing wrong with that, especially since I don't feel like I was overly inconvenienced...unlike, say, a WoW realm being down.

Mex wrote:
Oh, and from what I hear, Blizzard f*cks up everytime a patch is released, and they don't offer even an extra month or anything.

Months? No. Days? Yes. When WoW has had significant downtime in the past, they've given out days to players.

mateo wrote:
Mex wrote:
I don't get why the complaints. It's a free game!

Yeah, I don't get it either Mex. At best, I will be able to get another XBox original gratis, or maybe something cool from XBLA, like Lumines. Nothing wrong with that, especially since I don't feel like I was overly inconvenienced...unlike, say, a WoW realm being down.

Bolded for emphasis. There is/was a free Xbox original title?

polypusher wrote:
mateo wrote:
Mex wrote:
I don't get why the complaints. It's a free game!

Yeah, I don't get it either Mex. At best, I will be able to get another XBox original gratis, or maybe something cool from XBLA, like Lumines. Nothing wrong with that, especially since I don't feel like I was overly inconvenienced...unlike, say, a WoW realm being down.

Bolded for emphasis. There is/was a free Xbox original title?

No, I bought one, so I was hoping I could pick up Crimson Skies for free. Psychonauts is the shizzle.

mateo wrote:
Didn't they sell something like 4 million consoles in the last quarter? That has to put a major load on the servers...particularly since everyone is playing the same games.

According to E (via MajorNelson's blog), the Live issues weren't caused by the number of users. I'm inclined to accept his statement since the holidays are over and Live still has major issues.

CannibalCrowley wrote:
mateo wrote:
Didn't they sell something like 4 million consoles in the last quarter? That has to put a major load on the servers...particularly since everyone is playing the same games.

According to E (via MajorNelson's blog), the Live issues weren't caused by the number of users. I'm inclined to accept his statement since the holidays are over and Live still has major issues.

Maybe not directly, until you realize that the whole social patch came just as all these new users are coming on XBL. So it's hard to say what the exact reason is, but the problems seemed to have started with that patch, and were exacerbated by the number of new users.

You know if I was Sony I'd be trying like hell to finish and roll out Home before Microsoft gets Live fixed. Then they can point and jump up and down and yell about how much Xbox live costs and how it sucks anyway. If they said it right now I wouldn't even argue because, for the moment anyway, it's true.

Thin_J wrote:
You know if I was Sony I'd be trying like hell to finish and roll out Home before Microsoft gets Live fixed. Then they can point and jump up and down and yell about how much Xbox live costs and how it sucks anyway. If they said it right now I wouldn't even argue because, for the moment anyway, it's true.

I have no first-hand experience, but by all reports, and from a friend I work with, Sony's online system is a pain to use. $4.17 a month is very little to pay to have an online service that not only works (most of the time) but has an established user base, and is easy to use. Of course, those aren't really selling points for me, and I'm not really sure why I'm still paying for live, considering I don't do much gaming over live anyway. But from what I understand of Home, it's not exactly meant to turn Sony's service into a true XBL competitor, more like make a second-life-ish interface out of it. Sony's service has some advantages that Microsoft could learn from *cough*dedicatedservers*cough* but otherwise, ALL of the console makers have a lot to learn from Microsoft.

Anyone who is truly upset over this outage has no concept of the IT industry at all. Or life, really. Nothing ever works 100% of the time. And really, this isn't a need, for gaming on the 360 or your life in general. We have all endured power outages, but no one sits there in a huff with the power companies and is outraged at the lapse in service. We all know it happens sometimes, when that drunk down the street clips a telephone pole, or when the ice/wind/rain storms rip down those lines. I'm not saying Sony has demonstrated one iota of wisdom when it comes to PR, but to kick MS while it's down would be stupid, because most certainly, at some point, the online service for the PS3 will experience an outage of some sort.

no one sits there in a huff with the power companies and is outraged at the lapse in service

I would if my power meter still ran. It's a paid service. When I pay for something - especially because it's pretty much a captive market - I expect it to work. They're on week 2 of downtime. Wouldn't be as much of a problem if they weren't still running the meter.

Mex wrote:

Oh, and from what I hear, Blizzard f*cks up everytime a patch is released, and they don't offer even an extra month or anything.

It's never to this degree and the last time they've had spotty connection issues that lasted 3 weeks (happened only once about 1.5 years ago) they gave us a free month.

mateo wrote:
CannibalCrowley wrote:
mateo wrote:
Didn't they sell something like 4 million consoles in the last quarter? That has to put a major load on the servers...particularly since everyone is playing the same games.

According to E (via MajorNelson's blog), the Live issues weren't caused by the number of users. I'm inclined to accept his statement since the holidays are over and Live still has major issues.

Maybe not directly, until you realize that the whole social patch came just as all these new users are coming on XBL. So it's hard to say what the exact reason is, but the problems seemed to have started with that patch, and were exacerbated by the number of new users.

Even if that may consoles were sold, you have no way of knowing how many people who got 360s for the holidays are using LIVE (If you go by Microsoft's own numbers, less than HALF those who own 360s subscribe).

I'm not really sure why people are apologizing for Microsoft here... I'd expect the same credit from ANY service I pay for by the month (cell phone, cable, whatever).