Microsoft expects to roll out a new Xbox update in the next few days to fix a bug that’s left some console players unable to play their purchased games.
Persistent server problems that appeared on May 6 have prevented some Xbox Series X|S users from booting up their downloaded games. It's also affected Xbox Cloud Gaming, as well as making new purchases on the Xbox store. Users that tried to load games were reportedly met with an error screen that told them to connect to Xbox’s online servers. When they tried to do so, however, they found they were unable.
The unexpected server downtime effectively locked many players out of their gaming library. Even users who were trying to launch offline, single-player games, were unable to do so. They report they facing an error screen requiring them to connect to Xbox’s online servers – when it was impossible to do so.
While the issue has seemingly been resolved for some console owners, many are still reporting problems connecting to Xbox servers and loading their purchased games. Microsoft provided updates on the technical bug since the problem first emerged, suggesting it had been fixed (opens in new tab) at one point. But it wasn't long before it acknowledged that there were still issues (opens in new tab) and that it was investigating (opens in new tab).
Microsoft has now said it expects the issue will be fully resolved soon.
“We’ve seen significant improvement to the issue that has prevented some users from purchasing and launching games,” The Xbox Support account tweeted (opens in new tab) . “We expect full mitigation in the coming days with the rollout of a new update.”
Disgruntled players have replied to Xbox Support in droves, complaining that they’re still unable to boot up their library of purchased games. They're understandably angry that their console has effectively ceased performing its main function, and can currently only be used to run third-party apps, such as YouTube, rather than play video games.
“Seems I own an expensive brick…”, tweeted one Xbox owner (opens in new tab), alongside a video showing the error screen that has prevented them from playing Destiny 2 and Fortnite.
“Thanks, Xbox. Literally nothing I can do now”, tweeted another (opens in new tab), who showed off their bumper library of Xbox Series X games that had become inaccessible because of the server outage.
The glitch has shifted the spotlight onto Microsoft's overly strict DRM (digital rights management) policy, which requires players to connect to Xbox’s online servers even if they want to play offline games. Usually, you're able to play downloaded games even when you're disconnected from the internet by setting the console as your 'home Xbox'.
But something's gone wrong this time around. Even those who are playing with this setting have found themselves locked out of their gaming library. Something seems to have gone awry in the console's online connectivity requirements.
As VGC highlights (opens in new tab), Twitter account Does it Play? (opens in new tab) – which is dedicated to checking the DRM requirements of games – says the issue is peculiar to Xbox. While Microsoft’s console is effectively unable to play games without connecting to Microsoft’s servers. The PS5 and Nintendo Switch don’t have such stringent requirements.
“If the PlayStation servers go down tomorrow permanently, every single-player game you own will work offline almost permanently (provided [the] console is working and [your] account was linked),” it said. “There are a tiny subset of titles that will not.”
When it comes to Xbox, it continued, “nobody wins, especially Xbox fans when ALL the catalog eventually becomes inaccessible”.