An article from yesterday raised the idea that Xbox Live may have been hacked by Anonymous in retaliation for the rumours suggesting Microsoft's next console will be always-online. N4G mods have since changed the title and source, but you can see the comments do not reflect what the current title suggests.
Xbox Live issues first appeared when some users reported being unable to sign in, manage friends lists, and/or access some save files.
A series of articles then popped up jumping on the idea that Anonymous has hacked Microsoft because of always-online. At the time, I had just come off of a 2 hour Halo 4 session. Personally, Party Chat wasn't working, so 6-7 friends of mine played custom games against each other, since matchmaking would have had everyone talking outside of Party Chat. This was the extent of Xbox Live being down for me. Do I want it to ever happen again? Definitely not. But I must admit it was a lot of fun playing on created maps and gametypes.
Afterwards I came on to N4G and was shocked to see rumours of Xbox Live being hacked. Sure, disabling Party Chat for a few hours isn't something that would cause Microsoft to change their rumoured next gen plans, but who knew maybe it was all apart of Anonymous's master plan. After scanning some of the articles, I was quite disgusted with the attitude N4G users had to the alleged hack. Aside from the school yard excitement about other gamers being unable to play online, a select few were hoping that credit card information was stolen. Furthermore, the scale on rumour articles was way over towards the "Hopefully" side of the scale. What a sad way for people to be spending their Saturday night. This info is from the since altered article listed above.
The original article suggesting the Xbox Live hack then retracted their statement and updated their article saying that they had fallen for a hoax created by a fake Anonymous Twitter account. In fact, @YourAnonNews, Anonymous's main Twitter account, was quick to distance themselves from the issue, stating: "XBOX Live was NOT hacked by Anonymous."
So if Xbox Live wasn't hacked by Anonymous, what happened? Digital Spy provided a great timeline of the Xbox Live issues that were experienced on April 12th:
Microsoft stated in an update at [5:56 EST] that some users may have experienced connection delays, but added that it is "still hard at work fixing the issue".
A further update at [6:28 EST] said: "There is still an issue members are having signing in to Xbox LIVE, we greatly appreciate you sticking it out with us while we work as hard as we can to get this problem fixed. Keep checking back here every 30 minutes for another update on our progress."
[6:58 EST], saying: "If you were one of the members who was having issues signing in to Xbox LIVE, good news! This issue has been fixed!"
At the time of writing on April 13th, the Xbox Live status page states the following issues that are currently affecting Xbox Live:
- Creating new or accessing existing Minecraft game saves
- Managing friends lists and tracking what friends are doing
- Sending text or voice messages to other Xbox LIVE members
A Microsoft representative later stated to Gameinformer that the down time was due to routine maintenance. I suspect that while performing maintenance, someone made a slip up that affected the entire network.
In the end, the Great Xbox Live Outage of 2013 lasted an entire 1 hour and 2 minutes. Friends list issues are still persisting, but the Xbox Live status page at Xbox.com is providing updates every 30 minutes and one can assume these issues will quickly be rectified.
As a daily Xbox Live user, I was hardly affected by the Xbox Live downtime, but there are many on N4G that are confused about what happened yesterday. I hope this clears the air.