Gamers shut out by Passport switch

Thanks to Andy Tolson for sending this in.

Online game players using Microsoft's Zone site complained of persistent problems accessing the service Tuesday, as Microsoft required all users to switch to its Passport authentication service.

In a notice posted on the Zone home page, Microsoft informed users that they must sign up for the Passport online identification service, a controversial element of the company's .Net online services push. "The Zone is now a Microsoft .Net Passport site!" the notice read. "Your existing Zone account still works, but you must first sign in to .Net Passport or register for a new .Net Passport account."

The Zone is a part of Microsoft's MSN online empire. It includes hundreds of games, ranging from role-playing fantasies to card games, where users compete with each other online. Some games, such as the popular role-playing game "Asheron's Call," require monthly subscription fees.

Under the Passport switch, all Zone users have to link their Zone account to an existing or newly created Passport account.

Darren Gasser, a Ventura, Calif., software developer and regular "Asheron's Call" player, said he had no problem creating a Passport account Tuesday. But he couldn't get through to the Web site that was supposed to link the new Passport account to his existing Zone account, an experience echoed by numerous Zone users reporting their experiences in online forums.

News source: CNet

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