HBO Max crashes for thousands during ‘House of the Dragon’ release


HBO Max crashed repeatedly for many viewers during the premiere of the streaming platform’s highly anticipated “Game of Thrones” prequel on Sunday night, forcing some to create new user profiles to circumvent the issue.

The website Downdetector chronicled thousands of outages shortly after “House of the Dragon” began at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The company confirmed there could be problems when viewing the show through an Amazon Fire TV device.

House of the Dragon is being successfully viewed by millions of HBO Max subscribers this evening,” HBO said in a statement provided to multiple media outlets Sunday. “We’re aware of a small portion of users attempting to connect via Fire TV devices that are having issues and are in the process of resolving for those impacted users.”

The crashes introduced a technical hiccup into one of HBO’s most hotly awaited shows in years. “House of the Dragon” is a prequel to the network’s blockbuster “Game of Thrones” series, which is based on the medieval fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

“Game of Thrones” became a television and pop culture giant by serving viewers drawn-out palace intrigue punctuated by violence and sex. The show was known for shocking viewers by abruptly killing off main characters. But its final season in 2019 was criticized by some longtime fans who thought it had been rushed to a close.

The prequel, helmed by different directors than its predecessors, could provide a comeback of sorts for HBO. It also comes just a week before its competitor Amazon Prime plans to premiere “The Rings of Power,” a new cinematic installment to the Lord of the Rings franchise.

HBO’s technical hiccup Sunday night was a source of concern for some viewers, who expressed their frustration on social media. “App is crashing. Very disappointing,” wrote Carly Kempler, a media and audience engagement specialist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Several viewers found that HBO Max would appear to start the show by playing a trailer advertising the network’s exclusive content, according to accounts documented on social media. But then the user would be suddenly taken back to the Amazon Fire TV home screen as the app suddenly exited. This would happen repeatedly. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The network suggested various fixes through its Twitter account, including going into a different show and turning off subtitles, or uninstalling and reinstalling the app.

Some users found Sunday night that they could navigate around the problem by creating a new profile name and accessing the show that way.

As of Monday morning, there were few new outages reported on Downdetector.

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