This holiday season was a festive time for all. Colorfully lights are hung everywhere. Microsoft broke the 10 million mark. Gamers throughout the world got the game they wanted. We all had to much to eat. Games got new DLC and Easter Eggs. Lizards stopped the Gaming Net. Wait, Lizards what?
While Microsoft sold half a million Xbox Ones in just one week, pushing them over 10 million total units sold, many gamers throughout the world could not even use the very basic functions of the Xbox One or any other Xbox Live product due to various issues with the network. Ranging from not being able to connect to Xbox Live parties, non use of apps, retrieving or storing info to the cloud, purchasing anything, ability to join certain game servers, to simply signing in to Xbox Live would be impossible to do. With a simple Google search and reading of the Xbox Support Twitter feed you could see that this was not an isolated incident. Some game makers have it set up so that stats are tracked/shared via an online website, this also allows you to see current players online, like on Battlefield 4 and BF4Stats.com, This is a snapshot of Monday morning and then 2 weeks ago. Clearly you can see that this was not a small issue.
So what does a Lizard have to do with this? Well rumor has it that all these issues came about via a DDoS attack or a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. This attack was claimed to be done by the Lizard Squad a self labeled cyber terrorist group. This same group DDoS attacked League of Legends and Runescape. Then in August, they hacked into Sony and tweeted that the American Airlines flight carrying Sony president contained explosives causing it to be diverted and grounded. Starting on Dec 2 we saw these tweets from a now suspended account.
- Xbox Live #offline — Lizard Squad (@LizardPatrol) December 2, 2014
- Just some preparation for Christmas.— Lizard Squad (@LizardPatrol) December 2, 2014
- Sony had it worse. — Lizard Squad (@LizardPatrol) December 2, 2014
- That’s a small dose of what’s to come on Christmas. #LizardSquad— Lizard Squad (@LizardPatrol) December 2, 2014
Thousands could not play, watch, enjoy any of that online experience that they expected to get from Sony or Microsoft. When most reached out to Sony and Live they were meet with the standard answers. Did you try power cycle? Reset your modem? Clear your cache? Some were even given some untested hotfixes, which made matters worse. When I reached out to Xbox Support, I was told that Xbox is just updating systems and that this in no way is tied to an outside source. Really? That would have been the biggest, longest update in 10 years that no one knew about. Regardless, it has been fixed now and we can all play, at least I hope we can all play. But what I take away from all this is that communicating the correct info to your customers in a timely fashion is vital. The days of blanket responses and webpage FAQs are over.
In this day and age, Microsoft and Sony should use the same resources that those hack[er]s used to reach out to its gamers and isolate issue source, gather info, and create a fix. Using same method to inform us about it and how you’re working to fix said issue. We should not be searching out Google, YouTube and Twitter before looking at you to fix your product or service.
As the way we communicate and interact changes companies must adapt to the same if they want to stay connected. Thanks for reading folks, till next time plug in your mic and play with someone!