Over the holidays Xbox Live suffered a week of off-and-on-again outages, comprising a variety of different errors including problems signing in to the service and difficulty recovering accounts.
Microsoft put the issues down to the fact that "record numbers" of people had been trying to get online, either to register for new accounts after picking up an Xbox 360 for Christmas or to play games online over the break.
Xbox Live director of programming Larry Hryb admitted that the issues were "not acceptable." Now Microsoft wants to say sorry by offering Xbox Live members worldwide a free Xbox Live Arcade game "as a thank you for your loyalty during the holiday period."
A post on Hryb's Major Nelson blog, which contains a statement from the general manager of Xbox Live, states that January 2 saw the biggest ever number of concurrent members using the service, and the holiday period also saw the most new users sign up for the service in its five-year history.
More details of the free game offer will be made available "in the coming weeks."