This weekend Microsoft ran into a glitch in its Xbox Live online service. For reasons that are currently (and will likely remain) unknown, the system’s online cloud save option ceased to function. As a result, those gamers who use the cloud service to store and move their game saves were unable to access their vital data. Given the size of modern games, losing one’s save can be a massive headache, particularly if it seems that the issue stems from nothing you did, but instead resulted from the actions of a company that you trusted with your data.
Microsoft knows this and, quickly realizing what a public relations hit this mistake might cause, has moved quickly to rectify the situation. This morning Xbox figurehead Major Nelson announced that the cloud storage service is once again completely functional, but more crucially, he also made it known that the company will be offering a free month of Xbox Live Gold service to anyone who was affected by the issue.
To wit, an official apology from Xbox Live general manager Alex Garden:
We want to thank all of our Xbox LIVE members impacted by the Cloud Saved Games service issue for your patience and understanding. It took longer than we expected to get back to full performance as we needed to ensure the integrity of everyone’s game saves. Whether you couldn’t access your game saves for a couple of hours or a couple of days, we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience. We will be automatically applying a one-month extension to the Xbox LIVE Gold memberships of everyone who was impacted. We can assure you we’ll also be doing a thorough post mortem to help prevent this from happening again.
If you happen to be among those negatively impacted by this weekend’s issues, the good news is that you don’t need to do anything to reap the rewards of your momentary inconvenience. Microsoft claims that it has the usernames of everyone afflicted and will be automatically applying the extra month of Xbox Live Gold service to their accounts.
While this isn’t exactly a positive endorsement for the Xbox Live cloud storage service, we’re glad to see Microsoft move on this issue so quickly, and more importantly it does serve as a handy reminder for console owners that periodic data backups can save your life. In the grand scheme of things a Skyrim save isn’t critical to your existence, but had you taken a few extra moments to mirror the save onto your console’s hard drive (which is exceedingly easy, given how the system is set up), you wouldn’t have spent last weekend raging against Microsoft and occupying your free time by spending time with loved ones.