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One million Xbox One consoles sold but Microsoft’s cloud choked on launch day

Nov 24, 20134 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

Microsoft sold over one million Xbox One consoles, but s￾rs a 'cloud catastrophe' on launch day.

Microsoft launched Xbox One game consoles in 13 countries, selling over one million consoles within 24 hours, making Xbox One the biggest launch in Xbox history. In the first 24 hours, Microsoft reported that Xbox One gamers killed over 60 million zombies in “Dead Rising 3,” and drove more than 3.6 million miles in “Forza Motorsport 5.”

Reuters pointed out that Sony also sold one million PS4 units, priced at $399, within 24 hours in just the U.S. and Canada. Sony, trying to avoid comparisons to Xbox’s Red Ring of Death, said “less than 1%” of customers experienced a “Blue Light of Death” on PS4s. Similarly, after Xbox One launched, a reportedly “small number” of customers experienced hardware failure with their new $499.99 Xbox One units; Microsoft promised to quickly send out replacements.

With Xbox One sold out in retail stores, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy at Xbox, said, “We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season.” However, Xbox vice president Phil Harrison told MCV that supplying retailers with stock “will be a struggle. There will be difficulty getting stock through until Christmas but we will do everything we can to accelerate that.”

Xbox One “Day One” editions were only available to people who preordered consoles and were bundled with a special “Day One” achievement. Those “Day One” achievements quickly showed up for sale on eBay.

If you like cheat sheets for gaming, Microsoft put out a Xbox One cheat sheet for all of Kinect’s new voice commands as well as Kinect gesture commands.

In what The Register dubbed as a “global Microsoft cloud catastrophe,” the Xbox One launch coincided with the official site, and Office 365 going down and showing “Service Unavailable – DNS failure.” Although people speculated that Windows Azure was to blame, after services were restored, Microsoft stated:

We can confirm that these issues were not caused by Windows Azure. We will keep our customers updated as information becomes available. The service interruption that affected Windows Azure Storage was a separate issue and has been resolved. All Windows Azure services are running as normal.

“Particularly in the US, the success of internet-connected, data-hungry games consoles” will “depend on the underlying network.” Mervyn Kelly, marketing director at infrastructure firm Ciena, told The Guardian, “Without realizing it, average households are beginning to slide into domestic data usage patterns that would mark them out as power users. The growth in demand for data-heavy networked and multiplayer games, online television and rich content sourced from the internet, all over a computer console, will undoubtedly make an impact on networks and data centers.”

After spending eight years building up an Xbox 360 gaming library, the lack of backwards compatibility for Xbox One has sparked a lot of complaints and several petitions. Microsoft’s Albert Penello told Polygon that using cloud streaming for Xbox 360 compatibility on Xbox One would be “problematic.”

“It’s really cool and really problematic, all at the same time, insofar as it’s really super cool if you happen to have the world’s most awesome internet connection. It works way better than you’d expect it to,” Penello said. “So managing quality of service, the tolerance people will have for it being crappy. Can you imagine, in this day and age, with the bad information around, and we can’t control the quality of that experience and make sure it’s good, or have to tell people they can’t do it?”

However, Games Radar claimed Microsoft’s lack of backwards compatibility decision might be a tactical, and not technical, issue.

In a list of Xbox One pros and cons, the Star Tribune called the game library “anemic” and pointed out that a subscription is required: “You know those cool Xbox One features such as Skype, NFL extras, Netflix and Hulu Plus? They require the $60-a-year Xbox Live membership to access — even though the last two also have regular subscription fees from their providers.”

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ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.