Microsoft serves up free Xbox Live game

Microsoft has sold 17.7 million Xbox 360 consoles since the end of 2005

Microsoft is to give Xbox Live gamers the chance to download a free Xbox Live (XBL) Arcade game. It's effectively a peace offering for XBL gamers who experienced service outages over the Christmas period.

Record numbers of new Xbox gamers signed up to the XBL community over Christmas, and Microsoft says this caused a number of server problems on the back-end.

"During this past holiday season you helped us break a number of Xbox Live records," reads the Xbox team's blog. "This included our largest sign-up of new members to Xbox LIVE in our five year history and just yesterday you broke the record for the single biggest day of concurrent members ever on the service.

"As a result of this massive increase in usage we know that some of you experienced intermittent Xbox Live issues over the holiday break. While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance."

The blog says that all Xbox Live gamers will be able to get the free XBLA game free of charge, with more details to come in the next few weeks.