With all the hacker activity that's been plaguing the gaming industry lately, any interruption can seem like an early indication of foul play. Luckily, that's not what happened to Xbox Live today, although the service did go offline for a matter of hours.
As reported by VGChartz, Xbox Live users were not able to connect via Internet for extended time earlier today, as a "Service Alert" message greeted several gamers:
At this time of writing, the alert message is stating that users may not be able to connect to Xbox LIVE via an Xbox 360, purchase items from the LIVE Marketplace with a credit card or by using Microsoft Points, and also encounter difficulties redeeming codes.
Currently, I am unable to sign in to my Xbox LIVE account. Several minutes ago, when I was signed in, I would get disconnected from LIVE every time I loaded up a game. On Bad Company 2, for instance, I would get a "Disconnected from Xbox LIVE" message every time the DICE logo appeared. Upon returning to the Dashboard I would be signed back in.
Eventually, the service did go back online, with Eurogamer reporting that Xbox Live's cloud service had gone live. That article has since been pulled. However, Joystiq diligently received word from Microsoft themselves:
"Just confirmed that the [cloud storage] service has not gone live yet. We'll keep you posted on launch details." -- Microsoft representative.