Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox Live gaming networks experienced widespread problems on Christmas Day as a hacker group claimed responsibility for what it said was an attack.
Hundreds of users took to Twitter to report problems with the systems, which lasted much of the day.
“With the #Xbox hacking shutdown going on I’m watching my 15 year old nephew meltdown: ‘I’ve got nothing else to do!!!!'” Jim Crilley Jr. wrote on the social messaging site.
The problem persisted for hours, but Thursday night Xbox Live briefly posted a message on its support website saying: “Were you having a hard time signing in to Xbox Live? If so, we’re glad to say we’ve reached a solution! You can once again sign in without any issues. Thanks for hanging in there while we worked. We appreciate it!”
But many PlayStation users were still having difficulty logging on to their network.
Gamers were able to play games offline, but couldn’t communicate with other players or make use of network functions.
The hacker group Lizard Squad said earlier it was “smacking” the two systems, apparently one of several attacks in December. The group took responsibility for keeping each network down earlier this month on separate occasions.
On Thursday, the group asked for retweets in exchange for ending the problem, which could be a distributed denial of service attack.
That’s when hackers flood networks with illegitimate traffic, overwhelming the ability of the servers.
The problem might be exacerbated by video gamers who received new systems for Christmas and were adding to the potential traffic on one of the busiest gaming days of the year.
The network downtime started just hours after Microsoft’s Xbox video store started to stream the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.” The movie was made by Sony Pictures, a sibling of Sony’s PlayStation division.
Sony was the victim of a massive cyberattack in late November that was widely believed to be motivated, at least in part, by North Korea’s anger over “The Interview,” which depicts the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
But there was no indication that Thursday’s problems were in any way connected to the movie’s digital release. Other participating distributors of the movie, such as YouTube, were unaffected. And PlayStation is not participating in the release.
A Sony Pictures spokesman deferred to PlayStation for comment about the outage.