Time to re-up on Xbox Live, $39.99 for 1 year via Microsoft

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Microsoft itself has cut the price of a year of Xbox Live to $39.99 via the Microsoft Store. There are often sales on Xbox Live subscriptions via other sources, such as Amazon, but this is the first time I’ve seen Microsoft itself selling a subscription for a discounted price (it certainly may have happened before).

There’s no indication of how long the $20 discount will last, so snatch up your code while you can!

I’ve been a monthly subscriber for way too long, and have essentially been throwing away money. I picked up a code and along with my free month from the Master Chief Collection I’m now ‘golden’ until April 2016.

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Xbox Live is down again

After about an hour of enjoying Master Chief Collection with friends we all lost our connection to the party and all of a sudden all of our friends lists went dark. They showed zero players online, and we were unable to invite each other back into the game and had issues sending messages even from the Smart Glass app.

We were all able to join Halo matches on our own, but coudln’t join each other’s games or parties. It appears as if Xbox Live is once again under attack and most of the social services seem to be affected right now (over the last 30 minutes or so).

We were having a blast playing Halo, and it’s frustrating to have our enjoyment interrupted once again by a group of “hackers” (the hashtag #xboxlivedown seems to show a widespread interruption). What a shame. I guess I’ll either try to play Dragon Age or just give up all together and play some 3DS to end the night.

An unhappy day for new console owners

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I noticed after we came home from breakfast with family yesterday morning I was unable to sign into Xbox Live. We only had a few hours before we had to head out again for another family gathering so I didn’t think too much of it. I did notice throughout the evening I was unable to view my friends via the SmartGlass app on my phone. I had been looking to see which of my friends had upgraded from the 360 to the Xbox One this Christmas.

It was then I was first made aware of the mass outage affecting both Xbox Live and PSN. I saw a series of tweets mentioning the outages and found confirmation on both IGN and CNN. When I saw that the outages were thought to be a result of DDoS attacks I felt quite a bit of anger. Why would someone be so cruel on a holiday that means so much to so many people? I could imagine the thousands of gamers, the young especially, trying to boot up their new consoles only to be met with nothingness. From what I understand many were not able to play at all as the games or consoles themselves required updates and were not able to receive them.

I was away all day so the outage didn’t affect me, but the fact that it was disrupting the Christmas joy of thousands of others saddened me. Did the outage affect you? Is it still affecting you? Xbox Live seems to be working as advertised right now for most people (including myself), but PSN is still mostly down.

What happened (in a brief, barely informed nutshell)?

The nuisance group which calls themselves The Lizard Squad apparently took both networks down yesterday. They were demanding retweets in exchange for releasing their grip on the networks. In the end Kim Dotcom seemingly single-handedly ended the attacks by offering Lizard Squad members premium MEGA accounts.

A group called Finest Squad spent most of yesterday and today countering Lizard Squad’s efforts, and has been working to bring the “hackers” to justice. Their efforts are greatly appreciated, and will hopefully deter future “pranks”.

In case you were hoping to play Halo: It’s still broken

I have many fond memories of spending Thanksgiving nights playing Halo with family members, and if you were hoping to relive your own Halo festivities this Thanksgiving with Master Chief Collection you’ll probably be disappointed.

Despite yet another patch getting released yesterday, I am STILL unable to get into any Master Chief Collection matches. I’ve been trying for the last ten minutes (entirely too long) and have gotten nowhere.

I did however get stuck with the Connection Failed message that is now appearing behind all of the menus and won’t go away, so there’s that.

Master Chief Collection Connection Failed

Interesting Xbox One stats and HBO Go now available

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Yesterday I got an e-mail from Microsoft celebrating one year of the Xbox One and it included some pretty interesting stats about my year. It pointed out that I’m in the top 5% of Xbox One gamers with 6650 gamerscore earned on the Xbox One. I’ve also spent 371 hours gaming on Xbox Live on the Xbox One which places me in the top 25% of gamers. It’s kind of cool to learn about these stats and see where you fit in with the rest of the Xbox One community.

If you’re interested in seeing some more stats you can check out rewards.xbox.com/myrewards¬†and see what you’ve done over the last 30 days.

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In other Xbox news, the long awaited HBO GO app has finally arrived on the Xbox One. I’m glad to have the app because the interface is nicer looking and easier to use than my Dish On Demand interface.

HBO Go Xbox One

Play Sunset Overdrive for FREE today

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Microsoft is letting all Xbox Live Gold members on the Xbox One download and play Sunset Overdrive for free for 24 hours (Nov 22). If you like the game you can purchase it for $10 off this weekend only. Sunset Overdrive is an absolute blast and a refreshing new type of shooter with an entertaining story and enjoyable characters.

I definitely recommend checking it out and playing through a good junk of a great game for free today. All progress will be saved so you continue right where you left off if you purchase the game in the future. It’s worth noting that this is not a demo, but the entire game, and you can also unlock achievements while playing!