In December last year, a group of people launched a large-scale DDOS attack on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Different people involved had different opinions on why the attack went ahead, but the disappointing fact is that both services were down over the holidays, preventing many from enjoying their new consoles and games.
As you would imagine, Microsoft would like to avoid a similar situation this year, and has discussed plans to avoid it. In an interview with GameSpot, Microsoft's Mike Nichols said that these attacks are concerning, but Microsoft understands its obligation to customers: “It's certainly something that's concerning for us. We take it very seriously. Our obligation to our customers is to deliver not only great games, but a great service behind it. And so, that was a pretty unfortunate situation there. We are doing a lot of work on our own to anticipate different things”.
In-fact, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have all discussed ways of preventing attacks on online services, as they hurt console gaming as a whole. The aims of these discussions between platform holders is to “share best practises and discuss how it is that we can do a great job for fans together”.
Earlier this year, Phil Spencer made it pretty clear that he does not enjoy seeing PSN go down, since it doesn't help Xbox in any way and spreads doubt about online services amongst gamers: “All it does is put the fear and distrust from any gamer that's out there, so I look at all of us together as this is our collective opportunity to share what we can about what we're learning and how things are growing. Those conversations happen, which I think is great.”
Obviously Microsoft isn't sharing its measures publicly, as that would just help anyone trying to break the systems. Hopefully this year we won't see any large-scale outages for console gamers.
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KitGuru Says: The worst part about last year's attack was that it was announced weeks ahead of time and still succeeded. Hopefully this year, Microsoft and Sony will have better security measures in place. Were any of you affected by the Xbox Live or PSN outages last year?