Imagine the setting. It’s a Saturday, your day off from work or college. You woke up later than usual, ate an amazing takeaway for dinner, and planned to sit down and have a game or two against your friends all around the world on your Xbox 360. Well, at least you thought you would. Today, 14th April 2013, the worst happened. Xbox Live, the online gaming service that costs €60 a year to use, stopped working.
In most cases, an online service going down is a normal and frequent issue. Servers become overloaded. A major event happens, and they simply cannot deal with demand. Of course, this usually happens with services such as Twitter. Or maintenance is required, which routinely happens with the free online gaming service and Xbox’s competitor, the PlayStation Network. Today’s server problem with the Xbox highlights an issue that could severely impact the future of the console – the “next generation” which is set to be announced in the next month or two.
Sony have already announced the next generation console they plan to release, the PlayStation 4. Everyone is waiting with bathed breath for the announcement from Microsoft about their next iteration of the world renowned console. The rumours have been flying, one of which has been garnering significant attention and could turn out to be more bad than good following today’s server problems. It was bad enough that after years of waiting, fans of city simulation game Sim City had to endure weeks of issues after Electronic Arts insisted on making their game “always online”. Their launch was a flop, with Electronic Arts having to hand out almost a million free games to users in apology after the majority of players were unable to access the servers to play the game.
Even after witnessing the fiasco, rumours are rife that Microsoft plan to make their new Xbox console, “always online” following the leaking of confidential documents to gaming websites. The internet has been reeling over the thought, with sites such as TechRadar, Yahoo and Destructoid letting the world know why it will ultimately be a bad idea. With the outages taking place on the Xbox Live service today, one has to wonder if their fears are more than legitimate.
It hasn’t been a smooth road for Microsoft lately. That cannot be denied. It’s hard to forget the classy comments made on social network Twitter by a creative director of the company, Adam Orth. Sending a potential customer a meme of Barack Obama with the words “deal with it” in reply to their unhappiness really can’t be considered worthy of the award for customer service of the year. Mr. Orth has since resigned, but it’s safe to say that his quarrel with Twitter users won’t be forgotten by the die-hard gamers who make up the majority of launch day sales.
The future should be interesting. We should see a new Xbox and PlayStation by the end of this calendar year, and a strong launch tends to create the leader in a cycle. For now, enjoy some of the best tweets (and one public Facebook post) that took place during the outage. They showcase exactly why Twitter really is the best social network out there (sorry, Facebook).