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Giant Bomb News


1.5M Xbox Live Users Online, Bogging Us Down

Microsoft's online service has hit a new record for concurrent on line users. Is that everything's been so darn slow?

This isn't mine, but it seemed appropriate.
This isn't mine, but it seemed appropriate.
Over on I caught a Microsoft announcement proclaiming a new record--1.5 million, to be exact--for simultaneous online Xbox Live users over the holidays. Not surprisingly, they attribute that milestone in large part to the launch of the New Xbox Experience, though I'm sure the holiday hardware sales surge and the big pile of worthwhile games also contributed. This release comes on the heels of some previous self-congratulation regarding the Xbox 360's lifetime global sales, which now sit at a fairly beefy 28 million.

Anyway, 1.5 million users online at once is a lot of users online at once. I spent a respectable amount of time over the break on Xbox Live, and at least in my experience, the service was generally running a good deal more slowly than I'm used to. I'm not even talking about game performance or download speeds, just access to the service's basic functionality. Things like reading my inbox, populating my friends list with "what people are doing right now" data, or--most bafflingly--even punching the guide button to spawn the in-game blade display have been lagging for several seconds before responding.

Some of those functions are the sort that would be hitting databases frequently, so it seems like a reasonable assumption that this influx of people jumping online is bogging down Live's performance. Though maybe the NXE also introduced additional network overhead that wasn't present in the previous interface. Clearly I am no network engineer.

How's your Xbox Live experience been these last few weeks? Are you getting the same laggy interface elements I am?

While we're on the subject of Xbox Live numbers, Microsoft put out 2008 top-20 lists for both retail and Arcade. The lists are ranked by unique users and sales, respectively. Braid at number three on the XBLA list is heartwarming to see, and we got a kick out of the number of demos and betas on the retail list--especially where the associated full game is not represented.

Xbox 360 Top Live Titles

  1. Halo 3
  2. Call of Duty 4
  3. GTA IV
  4. Gears of War 2
  5. Gears of War
  6. CoD: World at War
  7. Guitar Hero III
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company Demo
  9. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Demo
  10. Rock Band
  11. Fable II
  12. Mirror's Edge Demo
  13. Madden NFL 09
  14. BF: Bad Company
  15. Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  16. UNO
  17. Castle Crashers
  18. COD: World at War Multiplayer Beta
  19. Forza Motorsport 2
  20. Too Human - Demo

Xbox Live Arcade Top Titles

  1. Castle Crashers
  2. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2
  3. Braid
  4. A Kingdom for Keflings
  5. UNO
  6. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
  7. Fable II Pub Games
  8. Duke Nukem 3D
  9. Bionic Commando: Rearmed
  10. Worms
  12. Portal: Still Alive
  13. DOOM
  14. 1942: Joint Strike
  15. Bomberman Live
  16. MEGA MAN 9
  17. N+
  18. Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3
  19. Marble Blast Ultra
  20. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Brad Shoemaker on Google+