Now that Microsoft has fixed the root issues that put a holiday damper on gamers who use its Xbox Live system, the company isn't wasting any time to make it up to customers. Microsoft is promising its gaming fanatics affected by the Cloud Saved Games system outage one month of free Xbox Live Gold service.

What was the problem specifically? Beginning last Friday, gamers started reporting that they could not reach Other members said they couldn't pick up where they left off on the last game they played, a feature of Xbox Live.

"I wanted to update everyone that the Xbox Live Cloud Saved Games feature is back online. The Xbox Operations team has been working around the clock to get the issues resolved," said Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, writing in his Major Nelson blog. "I also wanted to pass along the below note from Alex Garden and let you know what we're doing for those that were affected by the issue."

Automatic Free Credit

Garden, manager of Xbox Live, wrote a note thanking members affected by the Cloud Saved Games service issue for their patience and understanding. He admitted it took longer than expected to return to full performance. The reason: Microsoft needed to ensure the integrity of everyone's game saves.

"Whether you couldn't access your game saves for a couple of hours or a couple of days, we sincerely apologize for the delay and inconvenience," Garden wrote. "We will be automatically applying a one-month extension to the Xbox Live Gold memberships of everyone who was impacted. We can assure you we'll also be doing a thorough post mortem to help prevent this from happening again."

Gamers don't have to call and request the free credit, it will be automatically applied. The outage isn't likely to cause an exodus from Xbox, especially given the way Microsoft handled it.

Microsoft's Dominance

Video game hardware and software sales, as well as accessories, are declining. Specifically, sales dropped 25 percent year-over-year in October to $755.5 million, NPD reports. Microsoft has led the market in the U.S. for the past 22 months, but its sales are trending down.

According to a Bloomberg report, which cites people familiar with the company's plans, Microsoft will roll out a new Xbox in time for the 2013 holiday shopping season. Bloomberg wasn't clear on whether Microsoft would take the cover off a new Xbox at an industry event like the E3 show in June or hold a Microsoft event to promote the console.

"The new version will debut a year after Nintendo Co.'s brand-new Wii U, which went on sale Nov. 18 in the U.S.," Bloomberg reported. "Sony Corp. is also readying an update to its PlayStation console. In the meantime, Microsoft is still trying to squeeze out sales of the current model Xbox 360, selling 750,000 over the week around Thanksgiving, surpassing company expectations."