The Xbox One’s biggest game has hit retail. With that comes the expectation from consumers that the product they spent $60 on, or perhaps bought a $500 console with to get it in a bundle, will work properly. There were some hiccups earlier today that Respawn was able to resolve with a patch, and then Error Code OX8004804E made the rounds on Twitter and major gaming forums. Panic set in and people were not put at ease by checking on their account on the Xbox site, like the console told them to do.
Doing that shows that you can sign in, which is good because it shows you don’t have an account issue. That means there’s no need to call Xbox Live support and worry about something like a payment not making it through. You can check on the status of Xbox Live as a whole here and see that as of this writing, it’s limited. Microsoft is at least being honest about it and not blowing smoke by saying things are 100% perfect. Right now, the key theory seems to be that the Microsoft Azure servers used for “the cloud” are overloaded. There are simply too many planes flying through them, and they’re breaking up, captain! This theory makes some sense, and you can check on the status of the servers here. This lets you see how the servers are doing in particular areas. Some areas of the country seem to be having more issues than the rest. As an east coast user near Washington D.C., I can’t sign in. However, a NeoGAF user from NY has been able to sign in and doesn’t seem to be affected by the issue.
The good part here is that it’s not something that’s affecting 100% of people, which seems to anger people more than it really should. It seems like that’s leading to people getting pissed that some can play the game and they can’t. The best approach is to just think of it like a power outage during a massive storm. We’ve all had those and sometimes the power goes out, and sometimes it doesn’t. When you have power and you can check the news to see that 90% of your area is without power, you’re more thankful to have power than when you’re a part of the 10% without power and hear that EVERYONE AROUND YOU BUT YOU, DAMMIT, has power.
The best thing to do here is also the hardest — be patient and keep calm. Keep memes in mind and remember that this issue just doesn’t affect Titanfall, it affects all of Xbox Live. If you’ve spent $60 on Titanfall today, you’ve got the right to be upset. If you spent $500 for a console and the game, you have that same right. However, don’t just call customer service and cuss them out. That will never get you anywhere in real life, folks. Sure, with Xbox Live, maybe they’ll put $10 on your account to shut you up, but when you’re dealing with major things like a mortgage and the like, acting like that will just lead to them being less willing to work with you or accept something like a late payment down the line.
The absolute worst part about this issue is that it doesn’t just hurt Titanfall, it affects every game you own for the system. I got the error before even trying to play Titanfall — simply signing it got it for me, and that means I can’t play Forza 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle (yes, I’m the one person who likes the game), Peggle 2, or Need For Speed Rivals. It’s a shame, but the world won’t end as a result of it. I was more update with a recent error that left me unable to even sign into the system at all and resulted in me having to uninstall and re-install everything on it. Given that we’re in the era of everything disc or not requiring a full install, that sucked, but all I had to do was leave the console on overnight and check on things when I woke up. I did that and everything was arranged how it was before and my save data was just fine.
This error is a symptom of a greater problem, that being console gaming not being entirely ready for an online-only setup no matter if companies try to force it in that direction or not. Thankfully, the company didn’t go with their original Xbox One setup that they announced at E3. The issues they’ve had now would pale in comparison to what they would’ve likely had going with that, and it could easily be in deeper trouble than the Wii U. If Microsoft can get the issues worked out quickly, they’ll be able to save face fairly easily. The best thing to do here, with so much riding on Titanfall, is be honest and hand out freebies.
The game comes with a two day Xbox Live Gold trial, so extend that to a week if it’s possible server-side. Offer up something to people for being inconvenienced — maybe make LocoCycle or Crimson Dragon free by saying we’ll start off Games For Gold early as a make-good on this. Freebies don’t solve the core problem, but they’ll assuage people to some degree and allow companies to regain the trust of their consumers. Sony had to do that when PSN went down a couple of years ago, and now MS is going through a similar issue that is in a way smaller, and also bigger because nothing during that PSN outage was as important as Titanfall is right now. Microsoft has the Xbox One’s future riding on the game, and it’s ironic that the system’s past could be harming this game’s present and future.
Update – within five hours of this being posted, Microsoft fixed the issue. Still, the advice here is good to keep in mind for future online issues.