Xbox Live is a delicate flower

When I got home from my trip to Portland late Friday night, I had a grand plan: I would use the gift cards I'd received for Christmas to buy a crapload of Xbox 360 games and then spend the remainder of my holiday vacation sitting on the couch, having a massive 360 gaming marathon.

Instead, I spent all day Saturday trying unsuccessfully to recover my Xbox Live user account, which I had transferred to Loren's 360 in Portland while I was there so we could play Rock Band and Madden '08. Apparently lots of other people had the same idea over the holidays and the Live servers couldn't handle the load of all the accounts being recovered.

Major Nelson spent the day updating his Twitter feed every few minutes with helpful and informative status messages like "I can't stress enough that Account Recovery should ONLY be used in emergencies" and "Just played some H3 with a few of you". You might expect him to know what's going on over there seeing as how he's the Xbox Live Director of Programming (whatever that is), yet every fifteen minutes or so he'd say something like "Everything appears to be working now" only to follow it up a few minutes later with, "Fooled you! Everything's still broken." I'm sure he means well, but Jesus Christ it's infuriating.

The most infuriating thing about all of this, though, is that Major Nelson, Xbox Live customer service, and some of the Xbox Live support personnel commenting on the forums seem to be blaming the account recovery problems on users who used the feature to temporarily move their accounts to a friend's 360. They say account recovery is meant only for "emergencies" and not for roaming. The implication is that by misusing the feature, we overloaded Microsoft's fragile little servers and brought all this pain upon ourselves.

If this is true, and if account recovery really isn't supposed to be used for roaming, then it would probably be a good idea not to encourage people to use it for roaming right there on the account recovery screen.

Anyway, as a result of all this nonsense I went out and spent my Christmas money on PlayStation 3 games instead. My PS3's online features are working just fine.