uh-oh-always-offline

Though nothing has been officially confirmed, it certainly seems like the Xbox LIVE servers are down. There are rumors circulating on forums and on Twitter that the service has been hacked, though nothing official has been stated by Microsoft.

As of 6 p.m. EST, I am unable to log into my LIVE account via the console or the web based dashboard (as shown above).

I came home with a fresh (and used) copy of Halo 4, excited to test out the Forge multiplayer map editor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t log in. Hopped off my couch to see if it was a subscription issue, but soon realized that wasn’t the case either. A quick search on the web and it was clear I wasn’t the only one having this problem.

Here’s a glimpse of what’s being said on Twitter:

Don’t worry about Xbox Live being down! It’s not like your Xbox needs to be constantly connected to it in order to function! @CVG_News

I feel like Xbox live being down is a sign… @mattreeee

Xbox Live is down? Don’t worry guys, this clearly won’t happen with the Nextbox. Clearly. @LikChan

The weather sucks, and xbox live is down…..#Nice @NMuchard

Down is one thing, but being hacked is something completely different. The image below (which I saw being retweeted) has some believing the service has been taken down by Anonymous.

xbox-live-hacked

Anonymous hacked Xbox Live apparently yes yes yes this is fantastic @alrightjosh

Apparently #xboxlive was hacked and is currently down.  Be sure to change your password and enable multifactor authentication! @strangemagicbus

ANONYMOUS HACKED XBOX LIVE! @PsychoHorak

Apparently anonymous hacked Xbox live and that’s why it’s not working I hope that’s not true :/ @DaleyBiebsSwift

So was it hacked? In short, highly unlikely.

An attack on several high-profile Xbox LIVE was confirmed by Microsoft back in March, so the scenario of a hack is not that unbelievable, however, based on the accessibility limitations specific to this incident, it seems far fetched. A more plausible explanation to what is taking place is a server outage. Still annoying, but far less frightening. And if this was a hack (which I don’t believe it was), there isn’t so much as a peep regarding it from the Anonymous associated Twitter account, making their involvement uncharacteristically doubtful.

In addition, a YouTube video was passed to me a few minutes ago. It contains what is being claimed as a message from Anonymous stating the following:

“Many members of Anonymous are gamers or respect the conditions of gaming and find the use of hacking online gameplay or accounts completely unethical and counterproductive. We have therefore decided to target the Xbox LIVE hackers and perpetrators themselves. If you’re a hacker who thinks taking over someones account during Modern Warfare is leet, then we will show you the reality of cyber warfare.”

You will find many posts of the video dated today (timely) but the original message was posted over a month ago. Here is the full video:

Update: The only response we have as of right now is from the Xbox LIVE Support Twitter, which states the following:

LIVE service alert affecting sign-in http://xbx.lv/r0tXNK . Apologies, we may not be able to reply to all outage-related tweets today! ^EM @XboxSupport

and then a few minutes later:

For updates on the current issues with LIVE, check http://xbx.lv/r0tXNK  We’re working as fast as we can. Thx 4 patience! ^LB @XboxSupport

Update #2: As of 6:35 p.m. EST I was able to log back into my Xbox LIVE account, however it would seem that the issue is still widespread and effecting countless other customers. If you are still effected, please leave a comment below.

Update #3: The servers seem to be back online and fully functional. According to reports, the servers initially went down around 3 p.m. EST. No reason for the outage was given. The latest statement by Xbox Support can be seen below:

4/11/2013 12:19:51 PM PDT:

If you were one of the members who was having issues signing in to Xbox LIVE, good news! This issue has been fixed! Thank you so much for your patience during this time, feel free to go enjoy your favorite games and content!

Update #4: Servers are back up but XBL members are still having problems with the service. The most recent statement from Xbox Support admits to message, friend list, and party issues which are still present.

4/13/2013 4:34:32 PM PDT:

We are aware of an issue members are having sending and receiving messages, seeing friend’s statuses, sending or receiving game and party invites, and accepting friend requests on Xbox LIVE. We are currently working as fast as we can to get this issue fixed, thank you for your patience during this time and we will update you with any new information we receive.

If your friend list has vanished, you are not alone. The question has been posed to Xbox Support via Twitter and this is their response:

We don’t know the “why”, but we are working on sorting it out as we speak http://xbx.lv/r0tXNK  @XboxSupport

Update #5: The previous statement regarding the friends list, messaging, and party issues has now been removed from the site without so much as an update. I checked Twitter to see if they issued a statement there and there was nothing. This can be taken one of two ways. Either these issues have been resolved or they decided not to update us on them any further and moved on to other pressing issues. I reached out to them on Twitter and asked for clarification.

@XboxSupport any update on this? The statement on the status page has been removed. Does that mean these issues have been resolved? @chadlakkis

No response yet.

As for the additional issues I hinted at above, the latest statement from Xbox Support lists two new ones:

Users may experience difficulties with the following services:

  • Posting or viewing entries in the LIVE forums

Affecting the following LIVE Platforms:

  • Xbox.com

4/13/2013 7:04:29 PM PDT:

We’ve received reports of members being unable to access the forums on Xbox.com. We are aware of the problem and are currently working on fixing the issue. Check back here in 30 minutes for an update on our progress.

Also, while not officially noted on their status page, there are customers on Twitter stating that they are unable to connect with Smartglass.

Update #6: Microsoft responded to an inquiry posed by Game Informer late last night confirming my assumption that this in fact was not a hack. They told the outlet that the outage was due to routine scheduled maintenance and that any report of a hack is false.

As far as the outage related issues go, Xbox Support is not out of the woods yet. There are still some remnant Minecraft related bugs that remain dating back to April 11th as well as the following note from today:

Users may experience difficulties with the following services:

  • Managing friends lists and tracking what friends are doing

Affecting the following LIVE Platforms:

  • Games for Windows LIVE
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Phone
  • Xbox 360 Console

4/14/2013 9:33:36 AM PDT:

Are you experiencing issues accessing your friends list? That’s not good, but we are aware of the trouble and are actively investigating to bring back your socialite potential! While we work, go download your profile again and reboot your Xbox and then be sure to check back in 30 minutes for another update. Thanks so much for your patience while we get this resolved.

I will continue to post information here as the story develops.