Xbox Live users unable to get online, linked to new dashboard update

[Update: at 1245 am Dec. 7 — Access to Xbox Live restored. Some features such as Zune and Xbox Live Marketplace having difficulties.]

If you were planning on getting the new Xbox Live Dashboard update today, you’ve either 1) got it, and can now rant about how much you love/hate it, or 2) run into an error message that prevents you from getting on the Xbox Live online gaming service at all. The latter seems to be affecting an alarming number of users, and has been for some time.

Don’t bother resetting your internet though, it’s not you. The error code, 3524 0000 0080 0200 8015 1909, appears when trying to connect to the premium Xbox Live service. Xbox Live’s Director of Programming Larry Hyrb tweeted, “Some Xbox Live members are getting a connection error when signing in to Live. We are aware of the issue and the team is working it!” Users can also check the current status of all Xbox Live-related services, including Xbox Live itself, here.

Possible workarounds include trying to start a multiplayer game through titles like Battlefield 3, which will prompt you to sign in to Xbox Live (not all games prompt you automatically however, such as Gears of War 3). Others are reporting that repeatedly trying to find a “break” in the high volume of traffic eventually works, though neither is a sure-fire method. You can also download the update from Xbox.com to a USB drive and install it locally, but that still doesn’t ensure that you’ll be able to get online. Downloads of any other kind (DLC, trailers, etc.) from Xbox.com also seem to be disabled, currently.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for an official statement on the cause and a more specific time for when they expect the service to be back online. Chances are the high number of people attempting to download the new dashboard has strained the servers and the issues should resolve as the night goes on, but when will these gaming companies learn? Battlefield 3, Call of Duty Elite, and now Xbox Live (again) have all suffered frustrating and embarrassing server outages recently.

About the update: Microsoft’s new Xbox Live dashboard comes with a redesigned interface that resembles the Metro interface in Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The block and tile interface can be controlled with a traditional controller or voice-commands via a Kinect motion-sensing system. The update is the biggest yet for the Xbox 360, and will also offer dozens of new movie, music and TV options in the coming weeks. You can read more about it here.