Is Xbox Live integration with PC games a problem?

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On February 4, 2022, players experienced issues connecting to Xbox Live as the outage detector and Twitter were inundated with complaints. The main issue that people struggled with, understandably enough, was their inability to log into Minecraft…on PC.

So why are so many PC games so intrinsically tied to Xbox Live? What does it mean if you play these games on PC with a Microsoft account? And what’s the connection to Microsoft’s dominance of the gaming industry?

Xbox Live is down

Players are unable to connect to Xbox Live Gold at the time of writing (2am PST / 5am EST / 10am GMT) and according to multiple reports on Twitter, this issue has persisted for a few hours now. It also appears that the issue currently only affects PC gamers, which almost makes the situation more frustrating, as gamers actually using an Xbox are now apparently able to play. Maybe that’s why there’s also no update on the issue on the official Xbox Status webpage, or official Xbox Social Media.

Minecraft Java Edition Xbox Live Integration

While players can’t play anything through Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass, or Microsoft and Xbox Game Studio games like Halo or Sea of ​​Thieves, most of the complaints seem to be about Minecraft Java Edition.

Since Microsoft took over ownership of Mojang in 2014, they started transferring all Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts. This means players need to sign in to a Microsoft account to play Minecraft – even the PC Java version, not just the Bedrock (or Console) edition. Not all players, however, as the migration is not yet complete. So, to make matters worse, those still using Mojang accounts will likely be able to play Minecraft right now.

The problem with Minecraft itself is even more frustrating when Xbox Live crashes because, unlike Halo and Sea of ​​Thieves, Minecraft doesn’t require Xbox Live Gold to play. The mainline survival game is a completely offline single-player game, so not being able to play because you can’t log into a Microsoft account is somewhat of a contradiction – and incredibly irritating to dedicated Minecraft fans.

Acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft

The question then is, what could this mean in future downtime following Microsoft’s massive takeover of Activision Blizzard? There’s a whole slew of popular online single-player and multiplayer games that will end up being owned by the gaming giant in a year or so, and could suffer the same fate as Minecraft when Xbox Live servers inevitably go down in the future. Hopefully Microsoft will realize there is a huge flaw in this issue and not require players to log into Microsoft accounts to access all of their games.

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