Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam are serial offenders, according to a new report.
Gaming services have suffered downtime more than any other type of online industry over the last 12 months–and new research has rooted out the worst offender from Sony’s PlayStation Network, Microsoft’s Xbox Live, and Valve’s Steam.
A new study by ToolTester analyzed the most popular internet services in the U.S. and U.K. to discover which of them had the most outages over the past 12 months–and of all the instances of downtime across every industry, one in four of these was caused by gaming’s three biggest players.
Through ToolTester’s deployment of DownDetector, the organization found there was a total average of 193 times when PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or Steam went down–more than social media and streaming services combined during the same period.
In the U.S., gamers were forced to put up with outages 70 times, while players in the U.K. had it even worse, suffering an average of 123 issues.
The runaway loser in the battle to the bottom for online performance was Steam, which ToolTester found had no fewer than 99 major outages over the course of the last 12 months. Primary problems included users being unable to access the website itself (46%), and issues logging into their accounts (37%).
DownDetector showed the biggest issue for Steam came when it released Cyberpunk 2077 on December 10, 2020. The flood to buy the game–which, in hindsight, is pretty funny, even though I loved it (for all its faults)–caused Steam’s site to crash. On that day alone, there were more than 29,000 reported problems on DownDetector in the U.S. alone.
Moving on to the inevitable, interminable mud-slinging in the so-called console wars, those more fervent Sony fans may rejoice at another perceived victory against Microsoft competition: in the last year, Xbox Live had more gaming outages than the PlayStation Network, 63 to 49.
The study found that 65% of Xbox complaints registered with DownDetector reported users getting kicked out of games, and not being able to connect to the network.
I can personally vouch for numerous Xbox connectivity issues on in the last year, once even getting banned from playing Halo 5: Guardians for 24 hours after Xbox Live disconnected me from two successive games. Admittedly, it was the tonic I needed to help cure my weird addiction to a game which, six years after release, remains insanely compelling, despite having one of the more abusive player bases out there.
As for the worst online service of all, Discord registered DownDectector’s greatest number of issues. Other big hitters facing downtime include Instagram, YouTube, and Microsoft Teams: Zoom, if its UI was designed by MC Escher.
I’m a British writer and avid gamer. I run GameTripper, which gives writers the opportunity to share deeply personal stories about individual games and VGM.