updated 11:00 am EST, Fri January 4, 2008
MS Free Xbox Live Game
Microsoft will compensate gamers plagued by connection downtime on the Xbox Live service with a free game, the online service's manager Marc Whitten revealed today. The networking feature, which lets users both play against each other and download new content, has been experiencing chronic failures since a surge of customers began using the service during and after Christmas. In exchange, members of the service will receive a free download of a full Xbox Live Arcade game, Whitten says. The Xbox Live chief does not specifically state which gamers will receive the title but suggests the download will be available to everyone, not simply paying Gold members who are most likely to have been affected by the outage. Proper details of the deal will appear in coming weeks.
Whitten declines to explain what the primary cause of the widespread downtime may have been but notes that the service has never been completely down over the holiday period; the performance is nonetheless "unacceptable," he says.
Although Microsoft claims to have anticipated a rush of new customers during the holidays, the firm today reported that it had sold 4.3 million Xbox 360 systems between the start of October and the end of December, equating roughly to 1.4 million Xboxes sold each month. The statistic has eclipsed virtually all of Microsoft's earlier sales results and represents a dramatic 32 percent jump in the total number of consoles shipped since the Xbox 360's launch in November 2005, which now reaches 17.7 million.
Figures for its PlayStation 3 and Wii rivals have not been revealed, though Microsoft's spike is widely credited to both the release of high-profile games such as Halo 3 as well as price cuts across the board in mid-2007.