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For 48 hours, millions of players were deprived of purchased games

For 48 hours, millions of players were deprived of purchased games

A major Xbox network outage this weekend sheds light on Microsoft’s DRM management problem. Millions of gamers have been denied purchased games without any valid reason.

Xbox Series S and its console // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

This is called a discontinuity in one’s momentum. As Microsoft restarts its video game communications with Xbox & Bethesda Expo announced in june and Xbox Everywhere strategy to dominate the video gameThis weekend, the company experienced a massive outage on the Xbox network.

Details for more than 48 hours

On the evening of Friday, May 6 through Saturday, May 7, players began noticing an important issue on the Xbox Network. The symptoms of failure are many: it is impossible to access Xbox Cloud Gaming, impossible to buy games, and especially impossible to launch local games we own.

We understand that some users may not be able to play games on Xbox consoles and through cloud games, and our teams are investigating. We’ll update here and on our status page when we have more information to share.

—Xbox Support (XboxSupport) May 6 2022

One of the repercussions of this interruption is the inability to launch games for 25 million subscribers to Xbox Game Pass, but also for games purchased digitally from the Xbox Store. We are not talking here about downloading a game from the Xbox Store that may be unavailable during a service outage, but only about playing it, even offline. We’re talking about the broader Xbox network here, so the issue was also affecting Windows 10 players and Windows 11 who use Microsoft Store or PC Game Pass. The Xbox Support Twitter account also indicates that users can no longer use streaming apps like Netflix and Disney+ on the platform.

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On the morning of Monday, May 9, 2022, the site dedicated to the Xbox outage reports that the network is now operating at full capacity. So fixing this bug took an entire weekend. Fortunately, this is still a rare event of this magnitude on the Microsoft network.

DRM problem unique to Xbox

This outage highlights a unique problem in the Xbox ecosystem not found on PlayStation and Nintendo. The latter two are also entitled to their share of network outages each year, but whether it’s on the Switch or Playstation 4 and 5, it is possible to play digitally purchased games without a network connection. We can not imagine a file Nintendo Switch Mandatory connection request as soon as it needs to run a game, it won’t make sense.

Virtually 99.9% of purchased Nintendo and PlayStation 4/5 single-player games do not need to be connected again once downloaded/installed. This issue is unfortunately very Xbox related.

– Do you play? (@DoesItPlay1) May 8, 2022

We’re talking here about titles that can be played with a single player, without an online mode, which should be available offline, even on Xbox. Microsoft’s problems in this area may be due in part to the disastrous launch of the Xbox One, as Microsoft envisioned a future entirely online. Since then, the company has made several changes in its strategy, but the operation of the Xbox platform and network have remained the same.

Since PlayStation and Nintendo Switch can be set up without a network, Xbox still requires a mandatory connection to be set up on first use. In addition to a small network outage that ends up being patched, this raises the question of the sustainability of video games on Xbox, when Microsoft decides to shut down the servers.

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