updated 1/4/2008 5:00:23 PM ET 2008-01-04T22:00:23

Microsoft Corp. said Friday it will give Xbox 360 owners a free video game to make up for poor performance over the holidays by the system's online hub.

(MSNBC.com is a joint Microsoft - NBC Universal venture.)

Gamers log on to the Xbox Live Web site to buy games, television shows and movies to load onto their consoles, and interact with other players.

Video game blogs such as Joystiq recently reported that users had a slew of problems with the site over the holidays, including trouble signing in, downloading media and getting matched with online opponents.

"We are disappointed in our performance," wrote Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox Live, on the Xbox 360 support Web site.

Whitten said record-breaking traffic and new-member sign-ups caused the "intermittent Xbox Live issues."

Microsoft, which says it has sold more than 17.7 million Xbox 360 consoles since the system's November 2005 debut, bulked up its capacity for gamers on Xbox Live both before the release of the wildly popular "Halo 3" and ahead of the holiday season.

The software maker did not publicly detail the problems Xbox users faced or the steps it has taken to fix the issues.

Whitten said the company will give a free game from the Xbox Live Arcade, but did not say which titles will be chosen, or when.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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