Xbox has been suffering server issues for almost a week, preventing games from being launched thanks to online DRM checks failing.
The issues began around May 6th. After initial issues with eFootball 2022 and general purchases, Xbox users soon found themselves unable to launch some games (especially cloud based games) or purchase any online.
Except, it wasn’t. “We’ve seen significant improvement to the issue that has prevented some users from purchasing and launching games,” Xbox reassured. “We expect full mitigation in the coming days with the roll out of a new update.”
While the Xbox Status website merely lists an issue with Smite as of this time of writing, Twitter users are still claiming there are issues, along with third-party service issue reporting website Downdetector (within the last 24 hours).
“I haven’t been able to play anything,” @paulyoungphotos replied to another Xbox Support tweet. “PC user trying to launch Flight Sim 2020. It’s not launching. Takes me to Gaming Services. Please run a fix. [Prayer emoji]”
“Bro I can’t launch anything… I haven’t had access to MY GAMES since like Friday bro this is getting ridiculous,” lamented @DevinWi39171068.
“@XboxSupport @Xbox I STILL cannot access any of my games!!” raged @harroprobbie86, “or my Xbox account, this has been like this for 5 days now. Completely unacceptable. Basically have a £450 brick [$557] in my living room [swearing emoji].”
“Fix your servers they still aren’t working @XboxSupport” @LockdownAJ succinctly requested.
If true, this would mean Xbox has been having issues with their servers for at least five days straight. VGC reported that prior to their May 9th article that servers had been on-and-off throughout, while GamesIndustry.biz reported outages lasting up to 12 hours.
The news is embarrassing to Microsoft in more ways than one. VentureBeat recently claimed that “according to people familiar with the plans” Xbox is looking to expand their cloud gaming to smart TVs via a streaming device to forgo the entire console.
In addition, Samsung smart TVs will also allegedly have an app that will function in much the same way. VentureBeat expects both to be launched within the next 12 months.
Xbox themselves had previously boasted about “working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller.”
While it’s part of the ongoing “Xbox Everywhere” initiative to “reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all,” servers failing to let gamers play what they paid for would certainly undercut it.
Windows Central editor Jez Corden reached out to Twitter, seeking if claims about the issue persisting even when the Xbox consoles were in offline mode were true.
“Ye, i [sic] got some more details on why it was inconsistent,” Corden later tweeted, “spoilers: some publishers want drm checks even in offline games.”
However Does It Play? — a Twitter account dedicated to games preservation — put the matter squarely back at Xbox’s feet. “Correction needed, This IS a Xbox issue. Activision has drm ‘check in’ on a offline single player game (outside of Xbox)”.
“Meanwhile a majority portion of Xbox titles have Drm check in. They absolutely do not have them on PlayStation or SW [Nintendo Switch]. Trust us we’ve tested them”
“If the PlayStation servers go down tomorrow permanently,” Does It Play? proposes, “every single player game you own will work offline almost permanently (provided console is working and account was linked). There are a tiny subset of titles that will not.”
“This same principle applies to a PlayStation without a cmos battery or any form of connectivity,” Does It Play? explains. “Again, we have rigorously tested numerous titles across all platforms to form the basis of our conclusive tests.”
“Xbox NEEDS to fix there drm problems. Hand waving won’t help,” Does It Play? implored. “Nobody wins, especially Xbox fans when ALL the catalog eventually becomes inaccessible.”
“How will this happen? Well for one you can’t even set up a Xbox without a long term obsolescence inducing server handshake,” Does It Play? explained. “PlayStation and switch don’t have this issue.”
What will Xbox’s future with cloud gaming look like, and were the server issues of the last week a harbinger of what is to come? Some may consider it surprising Xbox are seemingly falling into the same issue they had years prior.
The launch of the Xbox One was marred by its always online DRM checks preventing used games from being played, along with the Kinect device constantly watching gamers.
Sony seized the chance at E3 2013, emphasizing their console had no DRM to the crowd chanting their name. Xbox would later pull the online DRM, along with the Kinect later being sold separately.
What do you think? Let us know on social media or in the comments below.