Around 7:00pm Central Time today (12/27/2006), the online game play portion of the Xbox Live service went down for the count, and as of this writing, (about 4-1/2 hours later), the service remains down. According to most reports, other portions of the service, such as chat, messages and downloads appear to be functional.
It’s not clear whether or not the outage is related to higher than normal post holiday volume or some other unrelated issue. Perhaps it was the mad dash of people to download today’s earlier release of New Rally-X ;-)
You can check on the current status of Xbox Live here. At present, the service status message simply reads: “Up and running. Xbox Live is currently experiencing issues with Matchmaking. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and Thank You for your patience.”
Overall, Microsoft has done an outstanding job with the quality of their online system when compared to those offered by Sony and Nintendo, so it’s surprising when something like this occurs.
I’ll post back when I have any further updates.
UPDATE: It appears that service was restored shortly after my post at 1:05 AM Central Time. Total downtime was about 6 hours, and there is no word yet on the cause.