Microsoft promises free game after online woes

I haven't had any problems with Live since basically Dec. 30. So, are people still not able to connect to games or get online at all? I've been playing Ranked games and everything since New Years eve.

I just had one evening of issues. I played Ruthless in a pick-up game of APFB2K8, and league game with firesloth the last few days with no problems. I think the reason people are "apologizing" for MS, is that there are some people that make this out to be a bigger deal than it is.

Jayhawker wrote:

I think the reason people are "apologizing" for MS, is that there are some people that make this out to be a bigger deal than it is.

Just to clarify, my earlier post defending Microsoft was meant to indicate this.

dramarent wrote:

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.

Yes, I realize we're still paying for it, but Microsoft has already announced efforts to compensate you for this. See the title of this thread, after all. I agree with Jayhawker 100% that too many people are making this out to be a bigger deal than it is.

The only thing that I think makes this a bit of a deal is that if it was Sony, people would be screaming about how much they've screwed gamers again and what a bunch of idiots they are etc. Obviously Sony doesn't have an online service that touches Live but even if what they have now went down, people would be using it an another excuse to bash them. But for some unknown reason, many people either say the Live outage isn't that bad or outright defend Microsoft for failing to provide users with the service they pay for. Sure, they're giving us a free XBLA game but no one knows what it is yet and frankly, I'd rather but the XBLA game and be able to properly play games online. I just find it a bit of a double standard is all.

I just find it a bit of a double standard is all.

It's not a double standard. It's called good will, and you cultivate it by treating your customers well and doing something effectively for a long period of time. Sony hasn't come close to earning that in a number of areas yet, maybe once they can get some online functionality in place that catches them up. I think given its popularity, Xbox Live has earned a bit of slack because it seems to be suffering under the load of its popularity right now.

I agree with Certis.

I also think that they should extend all of our subscriptions by a week in addition to giving us a game.

It sucks for me right now as I am trying to evaluate how well my new DSL is performing with gaming tasks.

I think it's a double-standard too. Not that I care much, but not like the 360 isn't the shoddiest console in the history of consoles. NOt like Vista is goodwill builder upper either. HOw about tying DX10 to Vista only? Eliminating hardware sound accceleration support? HOw about the GFW kick-off games? Halo 2 and ShadowRun - both Vista only. Live for Windows anyone? How about the 20 versions of Vista? Charging you $50/yr to see advertisements on your 360 dash and use your own bandwidth and 360 as a server? How about trying to pass off a new document format onto consumers with the newest Office? ....

They've done good too, but I don't really sense a great buildup of goodwill from MS.

trip1eX wrote:

I think it's a double-standard too. Not that I care much, but not like the 360 isn't the shoddiest console in the history of consoles. NOt like Vista is goodwill builder upper either. HOw about tying DX10 to Vista only? Eliminating hardware sound accceleration support? HOw about the GFW kick-off games? Halo 2 and ShadowRun - both Vista only. Live for Windows anyone? How about the 20 versions of Vista? Charging you $50/yr to see advertisements on your 360 dash and use your own bandwidth and 360 as a server? How about trying to pass off a new document format onto consumers with the newest Office? ....

They've done good too, but I don't really sense a great buildup of goodwill from MS. :)

That's nice and all, but I was only speaking to Xbox Live specifically, which you'll notice this thread speaks to. I don't disagree with much of what you're saying, but this is about Xbox Live, not Microsoft Word or Vista. Live has been very good for gamers and for this community specifically, if they're having some performance issues I think they deserve a little slack while they sort it out.

trip1eX wrote:

I think it's a double-standard too. Not that I care much, but not like the 360 isn't the shoddiest console in the history of consoles. NOt like Vista is goodwill builder upper either. HOw about tying DX10 to Vista only? Eliminating hardware sound accceleration support? HOw about the GFW kick-off games? Halo 2 and ShadowRun - both Vista only. Live for Windows anyone? How about the 20 versions of Vista? Charging you $50/yr to see advertisements on your 360 dash and use your own bandwidth and 360 as a server? How about trying to pass off a new document format onto consumers with the newest Office? ....

They've done good too, but I don't really sense a great buildup of goodwill from MS. :)

As many know, I run Linux, Mandriva 2008 to be exact, and frankly, I'm calling bull.

People seem to forget having to blow on Nintendo cartridges to get them to work, or how the PS2 had a spate of issues with reading disks...I guess our memories really are that short.

True, having about 33% of all consoles get sent back is bad, but they have done the right thing. So, there is some goodwill there.

Next, the other issues you raise are all....reverse FUD?

Frankly, noone cares about the problems with Vista-they beat sales expectations for the OS, and the OS division is doing well with OEM sales. Try walking into any computer section and try not to buy Vista. If you don't like it, don't use it, but it seems like most average users are fine with it, so it's not ME take two. Ubiquity is not necessarily a representation of value, but I think this is a non-issue. At least Vista browbeats people into paying attention to what they are doing with their PC.

As for DX 10-their code, their decision. Try Open GL only gaming. Some nice stuff, but nowhere near as pretty.

As for the GFW initiative....I find the whole thing redundant, since it's not like any AAA titles are coming out on Mac or Linux first, but if they want to tie gaming to Vista, then they can do it. Try running Halo 2 on Linux! Not going to happen. Besides, isn't it a relatively minor hack to get those two titles running on XP?

What else you got?

Oh yeah, ads on the dash...you know what? The downloads from XBL are fast. Really fast. I'm guessing that the $50 per year you spend for silver is nowhere near what the servers actually cost Microsoft. I wonder what the cost would actually be if they pushed it back on the end user....I don't care about the ads, personally. Just keep my subscription cheap!

As for Office...they made a bunch of changes to their formats, not only for lock in, I might add...they had a bunch of features requested by Fortune 100 users that Microsoft listens to, so they had to change the format. It's a proprietary standard, and office is backward compatible, so they can do that. Office 2007 is a nice "piece of kit" actually, and it supposedly supports ODF. I'd say that Microsoft gets a pass for that.

So, let's recap. Microsoft: does some good things, does some iffy things. XBL is one of the good things.

You can always opt out of Microsoft's products, but frankly, I don't see why you should. The 360 and XBL are a really great gaming combination, so I think extending some slack is in order.

Certis wrote:

Live has been very good for gamers and for this community specifically, if they're having some performance issues I think they deserve a little slack while they sort it out.

How many occasions and for what duration do you think we should cut them slack for? It's already been over two weeks and this sure isn't the first time that Live has had issues.

I do not want to see this thread devolve into yet another Microsoft good or bad debate. Take it to its own thread if you want to go back and forth on that particular argument. Hint: you'll finish annoyed and you'll still be standing in the same place.

trip1ex, if you're wondering what I mean when I say you're a common participant in threads that go south, there's your answer. You've entered a thread about one particular issue, and tried to make it about something much broader. The whole "I don't really care BUT" and then listing a huge, comprehensive list of problems takes us nowhere good and again, drags the thread off topic into arguments as old as the Internet. Try and resist the urge to perpetuate these stale debates in threads that don't call for them.

CannibalCrowley wrote:
Certis wrote:

Live has been very good for gamers and for this community specifically, if they're having some performance issues I think they deserve a little slack while they sort it out.

How many occasions and for what duration do you think we should cut them slack for? It's already been over two weeks and this sure isn't the first time that Live has had issues.

That's a personal decision, I couldn't speak for what each person's threshold would be. I might feel more strongly about it if I didn't have other things to do with my time, personally.

I'm still having trouble with at least the marketplace on Live. I was downloading Rockband content and several times the market place wouldn't respond or was really slow when I tried to get the download to start or it just outright failed to start (got some sort of error message) and I had to try starting it again, sometimes I had to do this a few times. Once it did start downloading though it was very quick.

Thankfully I have been pretty busy with PC gaming over the holidays so I haven't had to deal. If I had run into issues trying to play games over the holiday I would have been pretty dam pissed, but that shouldn't come as a surprise as I think we shouldn't be paying for live gold memberships. At least not anymore.

As for MS making up for the bad service, I would much rather get more time on my subscription than a free game. Although given the right game I could be just as happy.

Certis wrote:

I do not want to see this thread devolve into yet another Microsoft good or bad debate. Take it to its own thread if you want to go back and forth on that particular argument. Hint: you'll finish annoyed and you'll still be standing in the same place.

I agree. I'm a card-carrying Microsoft hater by some standards. I use Firefox almost solely. I use Linux at home as my main OS and refuse to build a gaming rig that runs Windows as I don't want to pay for Windows. etc. etc. etc.

HOWEVER, I love the 360. It's probably my favorite console ever. And a large part of this (the games of course are important) is Live and XBLA. I have had more fun playing with all of you over XBL than pretty much any gaming experience in my 32 years as a gamer. It really has been a joy to battle you in Halo, pick up new stuff like Team Fortress 2, chat while playing Carcassonne, etc. I will gladly pay for Live as long as I can log on and it works.

My point? I'm someone who really dislikes most everything Microsoft does. I cheered when the DOJ sued them over IE bundling. I booed when Bush let them off the hook. But this thread is about XBox Live. And when it comes to the 360 and Live Microsoft has absolutely earned some slack, IMHO. They've put together the best online system this side of Steam, where I've literally made friends, shared fun times and brought my enjoyment of gaming as a hobby up quite a few notches.

If I can cut them some slack then surely anyone can.

The one bad thing is that this free game is putting a freeze on my XBLA game purchases. I want to buy SWOS and I'm tempted to buy Every Extend Extra Extreme, but I have no clue what they're going to offer up for free so I'm waiting.

I honestly can't really believe the things I'm reading in this thread.

Those of you in the tech business, if you're in here complaining about this outage, you either:

A. Deserve no sympathy
or B. Don't have a whole lot of experience in the tech world yet.

STUFF BREAKS. IT HAPPENS.

Those of you here complaining not in the tech business...

STUFF BREAKS. IT HAPPENS.

This is a fundamental truth of the freaking UNIVERSE. Honestly, some of you who seem so tangled up in these issues, you really ought to spend a little time away from Live to begin with from the sound of things.

Everybody take a chill pill, and wait to hear what Microsoft says about what compensation you're going to get. Otherwise, unplug the 360, and just walk away, man...

People have a right to be upset if they pay for a service and it's not working, nsmike. Stuff does break, it does indeed happen, but I don't think being obnoxious while pointing it out helps either.

Last night was the worst I have ever seen XBox Live (a user made graph of up/down time is here). It was frustrating enough that I went and did something else rather than use XBL. To me this was the equivalent of my cable provider having an outage. In which case I would prefer to go do something else rather than watch static. Having said that, the last time my cable provider had a systemic outage that lasted over 24 hours was, well never. If Microsoft wants XBL to be ubiquitous in the games/media market it needs to get its act together and not have service interruptions that last weeks. Deity of choice forbid, but they need to become more like a public-utility in their service implementation of XBL. Otherwise the XBL service will be nothing more than a "nice to have" monthly service and not the "got to have it" monthly service needed for the mass market (i.e. not hardcore).

Certis wrote:

People have a right to be upset if they pay for a service and it's not working, nsmike. Stuff does break, it does indeed happen, but I don't think being obnoxious while pointing it out helps either.

Right on. I don't care how the tech world works, when I pay for a service, I expect it to be there, even if it's simple entertainment, even if it happens to run on silicon, and even if it's cheap. Timing is important too - for an entertainment service, 95% doesn't cut it if the 5% downtime comes during, say, a holiday break or on a Saturday night.

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.

I played WoW from Feb 2005 to August 2006, and there was only one time we got "something" for the regular unscheduled downtimes and spotty network performance. There was an unexpected server crash that lasted a day so they gave out something like 24 extra hours of "rest" bar (double XP for killing monsters for a while). The best part was, to give everyone the extra rest period they had to take the servers down outside of the regular maintence period and it was worthless to those who had already hit the level cap. I do know they did prorate the cost of a month early after the release.

My friends list and everything works fine so I can see who's online, and send messages, but none of the tabs with Live/Marketplace content load at all. Havent tried playing any games online as I have been playing Mass Effect.

Certis, I get your point about goodwill but my point of view is this: When they're taking my money, goodwill doesn't enter into it. I'll give you an example: I was with the same DSL Internet provider for years. They used to have fantastic service and I was a huge evangelist for them. Then they got bought by a much larger company and stuff started going downhill. Every time the service went down, I didn't go "Well they did well by me before so I'll cut them some slack.", I called them and wanted to know why things weren't working and what they were going to do to make up for it. The fact that Xbox Live is the best console online service doesn't excuse it not functioning. And providing a free XBLA game (maybe) is good and I do applaud them for trying to make up for it somehow but the fact is they're having to do it because Live isn't working and it's starting to get written about. And this isn't the first time this or other issues have happened. Microsoft could see early on how many Xbox 360s were selling but they didn't scale the service properly.

I didn't want to turn this into another Sony vs. Microsoft thread either but I cited Sony as a legitimate example. For some reason, people always need someone to hate in every generation. Last time it was Nintendo, this time it's Sony. I do hold Sony accountable for a number of mistakes they've made (and there's many) because while I don't pay for PS3 online, I did pay a boatload for the system and I don't feel they've done nearly enough to earn that money. But when 360s were/are dying left and right, people applauded them for extending the warranty (which let's be realistic, they only did to avoid lawsuits and bad press) and few asked "But why did this happen in the first place?", when Live went wonky for a while after the Halo 3 launch, people largely went "Oh it's OK. It was a big game launch after all." Maybe I'm just too cynical but I believe that whoever it is, if you're paying for something and they aren't providing it, we should be annoyed, not apologetic and that everyone should be held to the same standards. My main point is this: I don't want a free XBLA game, I want the service to work.

mateo wrote:
Mex wrote:

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

Yeah, I don't get it either Mex.

This is probably because people are so used to bitch about "Micro$oft", they would probably bitch all the same if Bill Gates himself walked up to them and pressed $100K in cash into their hand.

When they're taking my money, goodwill doesn't enter into it.

We'll see how that holds up when you start your business, you may find goodwill all you have to keep a customer in some situations outside of your control

I don't want a free XBLA game, I want the service to work.

Well, it's clear to me that all the people willing to be patient, relative to the guy who is suing Microsoft, don't care if the service is up and running. They just want to send the Xbox team hugs and kittens after all. Hell, I say they take the week off and try and fix things later.

Listen, the argument that Sony gets a lot of crap and Microsoft gets a lot of slack has been around for a long time. I was trying to get across why that may be the case, but what a large community thinks and why is nebulous at best. I don't think goodwill is something that stands up to logic, as you've proven, but it doesn't make it any less true.

Pointing out a supposed double standard under a hypothetical "what if Sony did the same" is all well and good, but that's got nothing to do with reality. It's a convenient way to support a given argument, depending on which side of the fence you're on, but I'm not sure what it buys us in this situation. Until Sony actually loses a service we actually feel has real value, it's hard to say how things may go.

Certis wrote:

Until Sony actually loses a service we actually feel has real value, it's hard to say how things may go.

I used to think the Playstation name had real value.

IMAGE(http://images.lowes.com/product/converted/048441/048441221813md.jpg)

Certis wrote:

We'll see how that holds up when you start your business, you may find goodwill all you have to keep a customer in some situations outside of your control :)

I think I might have misunderstood what you meant by goodwill. What I thought you meant is that because the service has been awesome (from a usability point of view) so far, that Microsoft should be given some slack for it not working properly the last two weeks. From reading that sentence, I think what you actually meant was that Microsoft is trying to earn some goodwill for the situation being as it is by offering the free XBLA game. Can you clarify that for me?

If you mean the latter, then yes I understand that. If when running my company, something happens beyond my control and I have to give the customer something free in order to retain their business, I will certainly do that. However, most of my customers would also not believe that just because I did some good service for them before, that a situation that negatively affects them now should be immediately forgiven. And don't get me wrong, I applaud Microsoft for trying to do something to appease customers. Having us locked to their system as they do, they are certainly under no obligation to do so (though this is as much about PR as pure customer satisfaction.) Unlike your example though, this was certainly beyond their control if what they say is the cause is to be believed. Many believe that the reason this was sudden is not because of consumer demand but because the Live servers have been under attack. Microsoft has a massive network operations team and they know how to predict demand and scale their network. Microsoft will never admit to being attacked but if they were, that would explain this in a way I could appreciate. If they just didn't scale up enough, that means they didn't plan properly and the situation was certainly beyond their control.

Certis wrote:

Listen, the argument that Sony gets a lot of crap and Microsoft gets a lot of slack has been around for a long time. I was trying to get across why that may be the case, but what a large community thinks and why is nebulous at best. I don't think goodwill is something that stands up to logic, as you've proven, but it doesn't make it any less true.

The argument has been around a long time in this generation because there's a lot to go on when making that claim. As I said, historically with consoles, people have always needed someone to hate. It appears to be Sony's turn this time around but for all they've done wrong, it doesn't make any more sense than it did with people hating Nintendo last generation.

Certis wrote:

Pointing out a supposed double standard under a hypothetical "what if Sony did the same" is all well and good, but that's got nothing to do with reality. It's a convenient way to support a given argument, depending on which side of the fence you're on, but I'm not sure what it buys us in this situation. Until Sony actually loses a service we actually feel has real value, it's hard to say how things may go.

I wasn't trying to buy anyone anything. My intention was simply to state that people by and large (though of course not totally) have tended to dump on even the little mistakes Sony has made this generation while giving a much wider berth to the larger ones Microsoft has made. A lot of that does have to do with Microsoft having the most popular system among the hardcore crowd. Brand loyalty and appreciation is definitely a big factor, even for those who don't consider themselves fanbois. Don't get me wrong, I love my 360 and have bought and played probably 3 times more games on that platform than the other two combined this generation. But I also started a site to protest their moronic DRM because I don't believe that simply having the system I enjoy the most gives Microsoft get out of jail free cards when they drop the ball. I honestly don't care if this is Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo or bloody Gizmondo. If you pay for something, it's reasonable to expect it to function and not to have 3 major failure related issues over the course of a single year.

I think I might have misunderstood what you meant by goodwill. What I thought you meant is that because the service has been awesome (from a usability point of view) so far, that Microsoft should be given some slack for it not working properly the last two weeks. From reading that sentence, I think what you actually meant was that Microsoft is trying to earn some goodwill for the situation being as it is by offering the free XBLA game. Can you clarify that for me?

You were right on the first count. The free game thing doesn't mean much to me, as a customer.

First order of business...

My previous comment was obnoxious. I let my impatience come to the fore, and it shows in that comment. If it bothered or offended anyone, I'm sorry.

As far as Sony goes... Up until the PS3, Sony could pretty much do no wrong for gamers. Nintendo was much the same. Everyone loved their NES, SNES, Playstation, PS2, etc. Even when Nintendo's consoles didn't do so well, no one could say it was because of their product. Even when PS2 DVD drives failed over and over again after the warranty expired, people bought new ones. Nintendo was where the games were, then Playstation was where the games were, and people followed. Now, Microsoft is where the games are. There's no doubt that regardless of it's failings, the 360 is the strongest console out there, as far as what it has to offer the gamer goes (I mean by this, not sales numbers, but what the console brings to the table when you're considering a purchase. Despite the popularity of the Wii, it still can't stand up to the library of the 360). The argument AGAINST Sony has been pretty much the PR blunder that is the PS3. Which didn't come around until recent years. The way the average gamer would (IMHO) respond to something like Sony having an outage would be the result of their PR response. Considering their service is free, they would probably not even feel an obligation to provide any compensation.

No one "tends to dump on" the "little" mistakes Sony has made. Sony adds fuel to the fire by continuing to make mistakes, and not showing the wisdom to act with humility when things don't go their way. Sony has displayed terrible arrogance from the beginning, and people are looking to kick back at Sony, because they insult their user base and show contempt for the consumer. The so-called "little" mistakes Sony makes are just another reason people can say, "Uh, why was I supposed to buy your product again?"

As I said before, downtime on these kinds of things should be expected. As the consumer, much like many people have done with Sony, your response can be to vote with your wallet. If you're so dissatisfied with the service, cancel it and demand a refund. People are willing to give Microsoft more slack because, really, They're not there telling us, "You're going to buy our console just because we made it!" They're saying, "Look at all of the cool, good stuff we have! Would you like to try? We made it just for you!"

If I didn't think MS was putting in gobs of man hours to fix what is wrong and viewed the outages as an acceptable standard of service, then I would be upset. In fact, I'd unsubscribe and move on. But since the service has run incredibly well for so long, and I have every reason to believe that MS is frantically fixing the problem, I'm gonna be patient. It's not like there is a better option out there.

I think MS screwed up. They weren't ready for a huge increase in usage. The goodwill they have earned means that I will wait for it to get ready, and judge them on the results.

I'm probably sensitive to this, as I am about to end a decade in retail, as well as my tenth Christmas season. People wanting a handout every time someone makes a mistake (or even if the customer is wrong) has gotten really old. We just loved those customers that felt it was their civic duty to point out how poor the service is. I mean, they seem so sincere when pointing out how they could just switch to a competitor, but the fact is, we all know that they whine and cry there too. People that bitch, do it everywhere.

I had one customer who was really not satisfied with the quality of out hearing aid batteries. He had his little tester, and they were short of the power the package claimed, and they were Walgreens brand. So I gave him a new pack, only he shoed up again, this time with tester in hand, to show me how poor they were. So I gave him a brand name package, and apologized. Low and behold, the brand name didn't add up as well. It was clear to me that one of several things were in play: his tester was borked, there was an acceptable range of variance, or there is a conspiracy of weak hearing aid batteries. Since all of the packages were years away from their expiration date, there was noting I could do to please him. He wanted to open every case until he found enough batteries.

What he got a ban from purchasing hearing aid batteries from my store. It was clear that our product was not up to his standards, and since the problem ranged over all the brands, I was now willing to give him his money back (which we would have done at any time) and let him buy batteries somewhere else. But this was unacceptable to him. He wanted Walgreens, the big corporate entity to fix his "problem", even though it was no clear that if there was a problem, it was with the industry as a whole, not Walgreens. I had to call the police to get him to leave, which was unbelievable. Once he was gone, another customer came up to me and told me he was throwing the same fit and a grocery store down the street.

Now, today I played three game of football online against random opponents without a glitch, and bought Psychonauts with some issues. The page did not load correctly and let me get my download started until I tried a few times. So I don't view this problem as all that crucial. There is not an outage, but there are some problems.

By February, I will not even remember that there was a problem, unless some loyal complainers continue to pitch a fit. Then I will wonder why they still have Xbox Live if they don't enjoy it.