Microsoft Offers Free Game for Xbox Live Holiday problems

Microsoft admits to having some trouble over the holidays with Xbox Live, the online service it offers for users of its Xbox 360 video game console. To make amends the company will offer Xbox Live users a free game from Xbox Live Arcade.

In a statement posted to the service, Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten said that the problems with Xbox Live downtime were caused by an influx of new users who had gotten an Xbox 360 over the holidays. It's been a record-setting season for Xbox Live.

"This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our 5 year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service," said Whitten.

Xbox Live enables Xbox 360 users to find each other and play against (or cooperatively) online, if they pay for a "Gold" membership. All Xbox 360 users are given a free "Silver" membership that enables them to log on, exchange e-mail with one another, view game statistics and download games and movies, demos, trailers and tv shows (though most of the content outside demos costs additional money to get).

Although the service was never completely offline, Whitten said that Microsoft was "disappointed" with Xbox Live's performance. He thanked users for their patience.

"At the same time we would like to offer a token of our appreciation to all of you in celebration of record success for the service," he said. All Xbox Live users around the world will get access to a full Xbox Live Arcade game that will be available for download free of charge. Whitten stopped short of identifying the game or when, exactly, it would be available.

"In the coming weeks we will be sharing the specific details of this offer with you," said Whitten.

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