As more countries implement measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, people are looking to video games to keep them entertained while they opt to remain indoors. The surge in activity has seen companies struggle to meet the new demand, the latest of which is Microsoft. The company’s Xbox Live service suffered multiple outages yesterday.
Some users were unable to sign in, while others experienced errors when using Live’s online matchmaking services. Worried users then flocked to Xbox’s support page. The high demand meant the site was inaccessible for some. Issues weren’t confined to one country as users reported problems across the world. Most of the issues appeared between 8 pm and 11 pm GMT.
Xbox was quick to rectify the issues. According to the official Xbox Support Twitter handle, the servers were back up and running as intended just over three hours later. As of writing, all Xbox Live services are back up, according to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Status page.
Xbox lead, Phil Spencer, took to Twitter amid the outages to explain that the servers had seen increased demand across the board with internal teams working tirelessly to ‘keep everything running smoothly.’
Xbox isn’t the only gaming company to weather a surge in demand. Steam hit an all-time user peak of 20 million yesterday, beating a record of 19.7 million users, set only a day earlier on Saturday.
Similarly, the Italian telecommunications company, Telecom Italia, recorded a 70% increase in internet activity last week. The company’s CEO attributed most of this to online games like Fortnite and Call of Duty.
Speaking of Call of Duty, Activision’s newly minted battle royale, Warzone, hit 15 million players in three days. The free-to-play shooter is now the fastest-growing game of all time besting previous record holder, Apex Legends.
According to the outage aggregator website, Downdetector, PlayStation Network saw an uptick in issues at the same time as Xbox Live. Similar sign in and multiplayer errors seem to have affected players. As it stands, all PlayStation Network services are back to normal.
The weekend undoubtedly contributed to the heavy load on servers. With the workweek now in full motion, activity is likely to quiet down somewhat.
Xbox and PlayStation appear to have weathered the first pandemic stress-test. But as more nations impose lockdowns and push for social distancing, this is likely just the beginning.