If you’re an Xbox 360 owner, chances are you’re aware of how crappy the service has been over the last few weeks. At times it’s been impossible to connect to the network at all, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Most people were off from work/school and loaded with gifts from the holidays, and NOW this happens?

People were naturally concerned- we pay good money to be able to play games online and spend more money on digital goods, so what would Microsoft do for us, the poor gaming public?

Well, they’re offering us free games to shut us up. And we’ll take’m!

In a recent apology letter to Xbox Live members, manager Marc Whitten let people know that the team is still working to fix the situation, and as way of compensation they’ll allow you to download a full Xbox LIVE Arcade game for free. There’s no word on if it will be a specific game, or if we will be able to pick one, but news will be coming in the upcoming weeks (we’ll let you know as soon as we do.) Let’s just hope it’s not Space Giraffe…. Microsoft would have a full-scale riot on their hands.

So what could have been the cause of this problem? Well, the official line is that it was the influx of new owners, and it could very well be that, as thousands of new gamers jumped online all at once to try out their new system. But gamers have their own sneaking suspicions… namely, that the service was hacked. Gaming website Primotech says that they heard from a source close to Microsoft that there was a denial-of-service attack on the system that left a lot of people not able to play their favorite games online.

What really happened? Who knows! This wouldn’t be the first time rumors have appeared of Xbox Live being hacked… having everyone’s credit card information available online freaks some people out. But eh, besides the ever-present whiners, we’ll take our free game and soldier on… Xbox Live’s been better to us more times than it hasn’t, after all, and still is the best online service for console owners.