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Xbox criticised after outages leave games inaccessible

UPDATE: Microsoft hails improvements, but "full mitigation" requires update in coming days.

UPDATE 4.30pm UK: "Full mitigation" of this weekend's Xbox server issues is expected "in the coming days", Microsoft has said, and will come as part of a new console update.

In the meantime, the Xbox Support Twitter account said there had been "significant improvement to the issue".

Word of a forthcoming system update to address the issues is intriguing, however. Will this see Microsoft deactivate its digital rights management (DRM) which has blocked access to certain games over the weekend? It's likely we'll hear more when the update is announced.

In the meantime, Eurogamer has contacted Microsoft for comment.

ORIGINAL STORY 11am UK: Xbox has been criticised for several periods of server downtime over the weekend, which left some players unable to boot games they own.

The Xbox Support Twitter account reported issues impacting the ability to launch Xbox games and play games via the Xbox Cloud on the evening of Friday 6th May, and then again on Saturday morning, and once more on Saturday night (UK times).

The outages have sparked a wave of complaints on social media, including from streamer and Xbox presenter Parris Lilly, who has called for greater transparency from Microsoft on how its digital rights management (DRM) policies work.

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"The Xbox outages have made it clear that something needs to change with their DRM policy," Lilly wrote, "games that are downloaded to my console should have a window to be offline and playable without checking in. Hopefully we get some clarity and a solution to avoid this issue again."

WindowsCentral writer Jez Corden suggested inconsistency over some games working despite the downtime may lie with different publishers requiring Xbox perform different levels of DRM checks on specific games (including some that are purely offline). Accessibility account Does It Play? suggested this was an issue specific to Xbox, and not something encountered on other console platforms.

During recovery from one period of downtime, Xbox employee Brad Rossetti reported that a full reboot of your console may help restore access to games.

"I'd like to see a Xbox Wire post stating out how offline works on Xbox consoles," Lilly said in a later message, "[including] what to do during a disruption in service and any lessons learned from this weekends outage and any potential changes as a result."

Eurogamer has contacted Microsoft for more.

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