If you’ve played Escape From Tarkov this past week, you’ve probably noticed particularly long queue times when waiting to load into a raid. These server issues have not gone unacknowledged by developer Battlestate Games. The team took to Twitter today to notify players of an update meant to reduce match loading times, but even after a series of technical updates and fixes, the frequent server outages persist.
Earlier today, Battlestate Games posted yet again that they are working on fixing the server issues. For updates on Escape From Tarkov’s server status, check back here for updates or consult Down Detector for moment-to-moment updates from the community.
Rainbow Six Siege is a team-based game that is at its best when you’re playing with friends, but that won’t always be the case–often players will want to jump in alone, and when they do, there’s no option to solo queue. Solo queuing means being matched with other players who are also not in squads, so that you don’t end up facing an extremely communicative, well-prepared team.
This is a feature that players have wanted for a while, and it seems that the developers are taking notice. As reported by VG247, the official Rainbow Six Siege Twitter account recently responded to a tweet about a lack of a solo queue option to let the user know that the idea “had been passed up the chain to the devs”.
This is something the community has discussed over the past few weeks, and the idea has been passed up the chain to the devs.
This is not confirmation that solo queue will actually be added, of course, but the team behind Rainbow Six Siege has been pretty open about things that are not coming to the game–respawns, for instance.
Rainbow Six Siege is in a good place right now, and recently broke its own record for the most concurrent players on Steam. The operator Tachanka is getting the game’s most significant ever overhaul, and the game is being planned for launch on next-gen systems. But there is, of course, always room for improvement.
Another Rainbow Six game, a three-player co-op tactical shooter called Rainbow Six: Quarantine, is also in development for PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, and Xbox Series X.
Click To Unmute
Want us to remember this setting for all your devices?
Square Enix has announced it is scaling back some of its plans for PAX East later this month due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus. In a blog post, the publisher said the Final Fantasy XIV Online developers who planned to travel from the team’s HQ in Japan will now stay home.
“Sadly Square Enix has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices,” the company said in a statement. “This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.”
Because the development team won’t be attending PAX East, Square Enix is scaling back its events surrounding Final Fantasy XIV. Specifically, Square Enix is cancelling the “A Look Behind the Screen” panel. But it’s not all bad news, as the team will conduct a livestream featuring the developers in place of this. The developer signings and photo opportunities will of course no longer go foward, while the fan gathering event slated for February 28 has also been scrapped.
While the Final Fantasy XIV events have been scaled back, Square Enix is still coming to PAX East with a lot to show and discuss. There will be a playable demo for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, a panel discussion for the new third-person shooter Outriders from the developers of Gears of War Judgment, and more. Check out Square Enix’s blog post to see a full rundown of its PAX East plans.
Devolver Digital has announced Disc Room, a new game from the creators of Minit and High Hell. It’s Devolver’s latest challenging 2D affair, with an interesting art style and the promise of plenty of violence.
The game is set inside a deadly alien craft, a huge disc that appears in Jupiter’s orbit in 2089. You play as a scientist who must explore rooms filled with alien saw blades that are constantly trying to slice you up, figuring out the labyrinthine structure of the craft and gaining new abilities as you go.
You’ll unlock an invincibility dash, time-bending, and even a cloning mechanic as you go, and the press release promises that you’ll die plenty–“In Disc Room the only way out is through Death.”
The game has only been confirmed for Steam so far, and you can wishlist the game now. The game will release later this year in autumn 2020.
If you’re attending PAX East, the game will be playable there. It’s a good thing, because not every planned game is making its way to the expo–Sony has dropped out over coronavirus concerns, meaning that the planned playable demo stations for The Last of Us Part II will not be there.
It’s safe to say that Animal Crossing fans are hyped out of their minds for the newest mainline entry in the series, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which releases March 20 on Nintendo Switch. The highly anticipated game takes players to a deserted island via the Nook Inc. charter plane, where you’ll begin to create your own island paradise by gathering natural resources, crafting items, and building a community from scratch.
Animal Crossing fans are so excited to start their New Horizons journey that people have started creating their own passports and boarding passes to celebrate their upcoming island adventures. First shared in a post on Reddit, this free Animal Crossing passport and boarding pass generator was created by user T0Rtur3 (with designs by user Celesmeh), and you can check out examples of what these look like below. When creating your passport, you can choose from a few stock character designs and stamps as well as input your name, friend code, and name of your island. There aren’t a ton of customization options yet, but this is still a really cute way of sharing your friend code with other players.
The boarding pass doesn’t include a place to list your friend code, but you can list your real-life city, airport code, and seat number to generate what your own ticket aboard the Nook, Inc. charter might look like. After creating your boarding pass and passport, you can download them directly or actually print out.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently sat down with Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price recently for a wide-ranging and very fascinating interview that covers a number of noteworthy topics.
In the hour-long interview, Spencer speaks about the future of Xbox, including the xCloud streaming service along with some high-level thoughts on what Microsoft will deliver in the next-generation of gaming. Spencer also speaks about Microsoft’s efforts in the area of accessibility and helping make sure gamers with disabilities don’t feel left out on Xbox.
Also in the interview, Spencer spoke about why he enjoys Fortnite, some of his regrets over the years (like moving the Bungie team from Chicago to Washington after the acquisition), and how things have been progressing with all the game studios that Microsoft acquired over the past few years. Spencer also discusses Microsoft’s thinking around business models, including subscription offerings and microtransactions.
Intriguingly, Spencer says he believes creating new models of monetization will help expand the audience for gaming globally.
“I think for us as an industry, we should embrace monetization dexterity, because I think it leads to the best creativity,” Spencer said.
Spencer said he recently visited Africa on a Microsoft trip, and he observed that one popular model for internet-usage in the country is that people might sit in a taxi or a bus and watch an advertisement to earn themselves currency to spend on using the internet. A model like this could work in gaming, Spencer said, where players engage with ads to earn currency to play games.
“Could that be a model that works in games? Absolutely I think it could,” Spencer said, acknowledging that he is not talking about a specific plan but rather a high-level idea that is in no way a concrete idea or plan that may ever come to fruition.
Still, Spencer said the video game industry needs to come up with new monetization methods to help reach new audiences and grow the business overall.
“We need to find new players, and new forms of monetization to open up those those new playerbases and new ways to build games, new creativity; that’s a great path to growth,” he said.
Another interesting topic that came up in the conversation was Xbox Game Pass. As many have been themselves wondering, Price directly asked a question that has occurred to many of the service’s subscribers: how does this model make financial sense?
Spencer said Microsoft is in a unique position as a platform-holder because it has the resources of Microsoft, which recently became one of the world’s first trillion-dollar companies. Overall, more people playing more games and spending more hours gaming is a good thing, Spencer said, but he shied away from directly answering the question about the financial viability of the Game Pass model.
Elsewhere in the interview, Spencer spoke about how he believes the xCloud streaming service will not replace traditional, hardware-based gaming anytime soon. He said he believes playing games on an Xbox (or another console) will be the best way to play games until 2030. The appeal of streaming services like xCloud is for the times when players are away from their main screens and still want to play, Spencer said.
“I think I’m going to have a game console plugged into my television for the next decade-plus. I think it’s going to be the best way for me to play on my television; to have a local device, download the game, and play,” he said.
Looking into the future, Spencer said he sees a future where there are more consoles, not fewer. These could include things like streaming-only consoles or other devices that live under your TV. He said the gaming industry will follow the music business where streaming has taken over and allows for all different types of experiences based on what people want.
He pointed out that in the music world, people listen to music however they want, on any device they want, whether that be relatively lower quality audio on the train to work or at home on a high-fi, surround-sound setup. With gaming, Spencer said he wants to unlock and allow gamers to play whatever they want, wherever they want.
“I think with games, it’s going to go similar. I think what we’re going to find, is as games are able to run in multiple contexts on different devices, you’re going to see a lot of different devices grow up to support different use scenarios,” he said.
One console experience in the home might have the “most capability,” while others on different screens could offer different experiences. Spencer foresees a future where users can beam content at home to any screen they want across a “multitude of different devices.”
You can listen to the full AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook podcast interview below with the Spotify embed. It’s also available everywhere podcasts are. Note that this interview was conducted during the DICE conference earlier in February, meaning it was recorded beforeSpencer’s big announcements about the Xbox Series X this week.
The Game Maker’s Notebook is one of the best gaming podcasts around. Some of Price’s previous guests have included Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order director Stig Asmussen, veteran and prolific voice actor Troy Baker, and Dreams developer Abbie Heppe, among many others.
It’s been six years since the Xbox One released, but the system has just now gotten a feature that players have wanted since the beginning. Xbox Insiders are now reporting on Reddit that the latest update allows players to eject the discs from their systems with a press of the X button, meaning that you can make the system spit out the disc without needing to get up and press the button on the console.
Of course, with so many players going digital now, especially with Xbox Game Pass, this feature might get less of a workout now than it would have in 2013. Still, it’s going to be a handy feature for many players once they receive the update, especially collectors or anyone who uses their Xbox One as a DVD player.
This is one area in which the Xbox One has lagged behind the Xbox 360, which allowed players to eject discs with the controller, too. The PlayStation 4 has also long allowed users to eject discs with the controller.
Xbox has a huge 2020 planned, not just because of the new console on the way–the long-awaited Halo Infinite is also coming. If you buy it on disc, you’ll be able to eject it easily; however, it’ll also be on Game Pass.
Click To Unmute
Want us to remember this setting for all your devices?
2/24 Update: Added details about ray tracing, teraflops, “Quick Resume,” and “Smart Delivery.”
At The Game Awards 2019, Microsoft’s next-gen console finally earned its official name: The Xbox Series X. Initially revealed at the E3 2019 press conference as Project Scarlett, specifics about the console have been scarce. Microsoft has given us some concrete details to focus on, however, including some specs, a release window, a major launch title, and more.
With Sony absent, Phil Spencer and his team will definitely be the main focus of the show, however, it remains to be seen if that means we hear any announcements about an Xbox Series X release date or price.
Xbox Series X Specs: What Hardware Does it Have?
As part of the initial Project Scarlett announcement video, those involved in the creation of the new console said it will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, which is capable of 8K output, 120 frames per second, variable refresh rates and real-time “next-gen ray tracing.”
Spencer later clarified that the Xbox Series X would feature DirectX raytracing, which will allow for more realistic environments, with “accurate reflections and realistic acoustics.”
A new generation SSD is being used as virtual RAM, allegedly offering over 40 times performance increases from the current generation. Xbox Series X will also leverage high-bandwidth GDDR 6 SDRAM.
AMD and Microsoft co-engineered and designed a custom processor for the Xbox Series X. This processor leverages AMD’s latest Zen 2 and Navi technology. It was clear before E3 2019 that AMD would be designing the next Xbox’s processor, as Spencer briefly discussed a partnership with AMD during a keynote address at CES 2019. Spencer teased the new Xbox Series X processor on Twitter earlier this year when he changed his profile picture to an image of the chip. The new processor, which looks very similar to that of the Xbox One X reads “8K” and “Project Scarlett.”
In February 2020, Phil Spencer posted on the Xbox blog, detailing some features coming to the Xbox Series X. A “Quick Resume” feature will allow players to load “suspended state” games almost instantly and let you quickly navigate through multiple games without having to endure enormous load times.
It was also confirmed that the Xbox Series X will have 12 teraflops of GPU power, which is four times more than the Xbox One and twice as much as the Xbox One X. For those not familiar with the term, a teraflop is a measure of how many complex calculations a machine can handle every second. Essentially, it allows for higher-quality graphical output.
“The power of the new consoles is gonna be substantially greater than existing consoles,” said Jorgensen during the call. “We can do a lot more [with PS5 and Xbox Series X]. Things we’re doing will blow people’s minds.”
Xbox Series X Design and Images: What Does it Look Like?
At The Game Awards 2019, we were given our first look at the Xbox Series X. Standing vertically in what looks to be a matte black finish, Microsoft’s fourth-generation console features a power button with the signature Xbox insignia at the top that lights up white when pressed on. There’s metal mesh across the top of the console that gets backlit with an Xbox green glow as well.
In an interview with GameSpot, it was confirmed the Xbox Series X will support discs and is “roughly as wide as an Xbox One controller”. Phil Spencer also told GameSpot that the Xbox Series X was “designed to be as quiet as possible”, sporting a large fan designed to push out “high volumes of air” from the top and keep the console cool.
A lot of fans have taken note of an unknown port located between the HDMI and digital audio port on the back of the “leaked” Xbox Series X image. Microsoft insider blog Thurrott is reporting that the unknown port will be used for expandable storage. At the time of writing, the purpose of the port has not been confirmed by Microsoft.
Xbox Series X Games: What Are the Confirmed and Rumored Titles?
So far, we know of seven titles that will be making its way to the Xbox Series X, along with two unannounced AAA games. Perhaps the biggest title of them all is Halo Infinite, which is the only confirmed Xbox Series X launch title.
Microsoft has been accumulating studios, perhaps in anticipation of the future console generation. Microsoft announced it had acquired five studios (Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games, Playground Games) and founded a new Santa Monica studio during E3 2018.
Additionally, the Xbox Series X will feature “Smart Delivery” which will give players easy access to all digitally purchased games across all devices, meaning it doesn’t have to be purchased twice. This feature will be available for all exclusive Xbox Game Studio titles, including Halo Infinite, as well as any third-party developers that decide to opt in. Cyberpunk 2077 is one game already confirmed for smart delivery.
Just before officially announcing Project Scarlett, Microsoft announced that its game streaming platform Project xCloud is coming in October 2019. Xbox head Phil Spencer also announced Console Streaming, which turns an Xbox One into a personal Xbox server for free. It’s likely this feature and Project xCloud will find its way to the Xbox Series X in the future.
Xbox Series X: What Happened to Lockhart and Anaconda?
In December 2018, reports suggested the two devices that make up Project Scarlett are referred to within Microsoft by two codenames: Lockhart and Anaconda. Again, it’s unclear if Project Scarlett still consists of multiple pieces of hardware.
These two separate Xbox SKUs would theoretically have a similar dynamic to Xbox One S and Xbox One X. Lockhart was rumored to be a more affordable, baseline model that made the technology more accessible to a larger group of consumers.
This could potentially be the streaming-centric device hinted at in earlier rumors. The report suggested Lockhart was comparable to, or just a bit more powerful than, the Xbox One X.
Anaconda, on the other hand, would be a decidedly more powerful piece of hardware that would cost more for consumers willing to shell out the money for extra horsepower. It would reportedly provide a “cutting-edge console gaming experience.” It was also suggested the Anaconda could potentially act as a dev kit.
If the rumors are to be believed, the Xbox Series X is likely the console nicknamed Anaconda, while the Lockhart console is yet to be announced by Microsoft. However, it’s currently still unclear if Microsoft will have more than one console at launch.
Xbox Series X Controller vs Xbox One Controller
The Xbox Series X controller looks very similar to that of the Xbox One and was partially inspired by the Elite Series 2 controller. Notable new features with the new Series X controller are a Share button and a hybrid d-pad similar to the Elite Series 2.
In the Xbox Series X announcement post from Microsoft, the company noted that the controllers “size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people.”
Further, the new controller will be compatible with the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC’s and will be included with every Xbox Series X purchase.
Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.
Black Mesa, the fan-made Half-Life remake from the team at Crowbar Collective, will leave Early Access and release its 1.0 build on March 5, 2020. The game, which hit Steam Early Access in May 2015, has been in development for an extremely long time–as project lead Adam Engels says in the release date announcement, he joined the project 14 years ago.
“For the majority of its development, Black Mesa was a volunteer project,” Engels’s post says. “Even after we got the green light to sell the game, we still did not make any money until late June of 2015.”
“We think this upcoming 1.0 release is the best, most polished, and most fun version of the game yet. The anticipation and excitement around our project is beyond flattering.” The game will continue to receive support and bug fixes after its 1.0 release, the post states.
The game, which started life as a mod, currently costs $20 on Steam. The game’s last major update was the Xen beta in August 2019, which added the final area into the game.
Black Mesa is not the only Half-Life game launching in March 2020–Half-Life: Alyx is also coming to VR devices on March 23, 2020. If you’re looking forward to it, check out our preorder guide.
Click To Unmute
Want us to remember this setting for all your devices?
It’s not just Sony and Square Enix that are abandoning or scaling back their PAX East plans amid concerns about the coronavirus. Japanese publisher Capcom has announced that concerns around the virus are leading to some changes for the company’s plans at the Boston gaming show.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Capcom said members of the Monster Hunter: World development team who planned to travel from Japan to Boston for a fan gathering called Monster Hunter: Festa are no longer going to make the trip. The event will still go on, and there will be some news about the Iceborne expansion, but the developers won’t be there for the previously scheduled autograph session.
“Our sincere apologies for inconvenience!” the statement says.
An update on MH Festa: Boston 2020: Unfortunately, our guests from the MH dev team will no longer be able to attend the event. We will no longer have an autograph session but are still planning to share #Iceborne news. Our sincere apologies for inconvenience! pic.twitter.com/DVpQugYieS
“These fears reinforce harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle,” Walsh wrote in a letter. “They trigger our worst impulses: to view entire groups of people with suspicion, to close ourselves off, and to miss out on the opportunities and connections our global city provides.”
“As a large, international company, you have an opportunity to set a good example…As a leader in technology, you can show that you are motivated by facts, not fear.”