I’m of two minds when it comes to Microsoft’s Xbox Live services. Often times those conflicted positions meet for an epic battle in my mind.
Xbox Live is my digital playground. It’s that place I go to escape the world and getaway from whatever ails me. Rain or shine, sleet and that other white stuff, Xbox Live has always been there to provide me with online multiplayer, streaming video and music playback whenever I need it to.
That is, until recently. Lately, Xbox Live – specifically Xbox Live on the Xbox One – has become a non-stop roller coaster. Turn on your console any random day and you’re likely to find that at least one feature on your Xbox One that isn’t working correctly because of an Xbox Live issue. Party Chat is completely unstable. Your friends list just because some black hole with a spinning loading icon that makes you wonder what in the world is going on behind the scenes.
I no longer profess my love for gadgets or services anymore. In my old age I’ve found that the best way to show my appreciation for something is to pay for it instead. That’s what has me nervous about Xbox Live. There was a time not too long ago when I’d glance at the charge on my credit card bill and happily know that I was paying for a service that did exactly what I wanted it to. Every time Netflix hits my Amex at the end of the month I don’t get mad, I go watch more Netflix and get my money’s worth. Xbox Live charges used to be the same, but they’re not anymore.
This weekend’s Xbox Live issues were so bad that my digital games stopped working, entirely. Instead of spending time in Grand Theft Auto 5, I found myself on the couch reading a book and wondering when Microsoft plans on getting its act together. The solution for this was for users to set their Xbox One console as their home console – before the service actually went down in the first place, which isn’t a solution at all if you’re pushing the idea that your profile and games can travel with you.
Not a single service on Earth can guarantee total up-time. I understand that.
Not a single service on Earth can guarantee total up-time. I understand that. The human that other humans say lives inside me wants Microsoft employees to rest easy on the weekend and keep things in perspective. After all, Xbox Live isn’t a subsystem connecting America’s nuclear war heads. It’s a gaming service. By definition, it should be mission critical to no one’s existence.
Respectfully, the still new gamer in my soul tells that human Travis to shut the hell up every time Xbox Live takes a dive. I can’t speak on the PlayStation Network side of things because I’ve never owned one. The only thing I can compare my Xbox One experience to is my time with the Xbox 360, and increasingly I’m finding that the Xbox Live built for the Xbox One is about as stable as Confederate flag waving vigilante stationed by a southern border crossing.
Microsoft has to do better on the software and service side to provide a better Xbox Live experience. Not being able to sign into your Xbox Live Account is bad enough. Having my digital games collection and office Xbox One turned into a tar-colored brick is unforgivable. In a world where we want to encourage digital games sales for their convenience and ease of use, Microsoft just gave people one hell of a reason to keep buying on disc.
Clean it up Microsoft, because the next time Xbox Live stops you may find more people asking where they can cancel Xbox Live instead of how to get around whatever you managed to break.