"Human error" causes Xbox Live outage

Did someone accidentally trip over the master Xbox Live power cable at Microsoft’s headquarters?

Yesterday, Xbox 360 owners trying to log into the console’s online gaming service may have received an error message with no information as to why Xbox Live wasn’t functioning properly.

In addition, gamers who were already successfully connected online found themselves suddenly kicked off at around noon, Eastern Time. The seemingly random shutdown also affected anyone connected to the Live service on Windows PC games, Windows Phone, and the Zune.

Microsoft later explained, in a rather vague way, that “the root of this outage was human error.” The message was posted on an official Microsoft blog, as opposed to the usual Major Nelson Xbox blog, and noted that the outage lasted approximately two hours yesterday afternoon.

According to Xbox Live technical guy Eric Neustadter, the human error “resulted in an interruption to normal traffic flow within our datacenters, which logged users out and prevented them from logging back in.  We’re sorry for this.”

We’re curious to know if this was one human or multiple cubicle workers. We also want to know if it was an error in the basic infrastructure of Xbox Live or if someone actually triggered something specifically yesterday that collapsed the most popular online gaming platform.

Perhaps we will never know. But we do know it is fixable. Neustadter assured gamers, “We’ll be updating our processes to prevent this from happening again in the future.”