It’s been a rough couple of days for Microsoft and Sony. While the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 were both big sellers this holiday season, a series of devastating DDoS attacks crippled the companies’ networks on Christmas Day, making it impossible for both freshly-minted and experienced gamers to get their consoles online. The attacks disabled secondary services, like Netflix or Hulu, and also rendered online-only titles like Destiny and Grand Theft Auto Online useless.
For the two aforementioned games, the outages were a big problem; both Destiny and Grand Theft Auto offer users content that’s only available during a specific time period. Every weekend, a character named Xur shows up in Destiny and allows players to trade “Strange Coins” for better gear. With the servers down, gamers couldn’t visit Xur and get their weekly items.
Grand Theft Auto Online’s content was even more special: Rockstar’s Festive Surprise update covered Los Santos in snow and offered players an once-in-a-lifetime assortment of gifts – but only if they could log in on Christmas. Thanks to the attacks, that didn’t happen.
As soon as Xbox Live and PSN services were restored, Bungie decided to extend Xur’s weekly visit. Now, Rockstar is following suit. For a limited time, players who log into Grand Theft Auto Online will receive the Festive Surprise holiday gifts, even though the original deadline has long since passed.
That’s good news for anyone who missed the exclusive gift pack (which includes a red stocking cap, a firework launcher, some body armor, and an array of weapons), either due to the downtime or because they had to spend time with their families. However, Rockstar notes that the gifts are only available “for the time being”; anyone who wants those goodies is advised to log in as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Festive Surprise’s holiday-specific additions – including a special “snowball fight” mode, which was part of the Christmas Day-only snowfall – haven’t been extended. While many of the Festive Surprise updates are permanent, the limited time masks, pajamas, and Christmas sweaters are all still scheduled to disappear on January 5.
Of course, that date’s over a week away, and with both PSN and Xbox Live stable again there’s plenty of time for gamers to check out the new content before it disappears. Losing access to the exclusive snowfall is a bigger bummer, but don’t worry too much: Rockstar pulled a similar stunt last year, and it’s incredibly likely that snow will grace San Andreas for a third time during the 2015 holiday season.