Microsoft's Xbox Live service has been experiencing technical difficulties throughout the Christmas period. The issues have been acknowledged on Major Nelson's Blog, the Xbox Live team's avenue for communicating Live-related news and developments.
Based on comments on the blog post, the problems appear to be affecting users in the US, the UK, Australia and Canada, and are presumably service-wide. The issues, which began around December 22 and are yet to be entirely resolved, include difficulty logging in, downloading updates and demos, playing multiplayer matches and accessing statistics.
They thought they had the problem licked, but Microsoft has apparently gone back to the drawing board to try and fix the problems currently plaguing Xbox Live.
If you've fired up your 360 over the past week or so, you've probably noticed all sorts of issues with Live, including lengthy sign-in times, disconnects, being unable to recover your account, or matchmaking hangups. At one point yesterday, Live told me that I had eight friends online, when in fact there were only four.
Microsoft is aware of the problem and working on it and "that things are getting better each hour and that no one on the team is going anywhere until the job is done."