Nintendo eShop Stops Working Days After Xbox Live Crash

The Nintendo eShop is the latest video game digital platform to experience issues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and increased strain from players. Just a few days ago, the Xbox Live network experienced a significant crash that left many players unable to access their favorite multiplayer games at what could possibly be the worst time given the number of people looking for comfort during an extremely trying period.

The Nintendo eShop isn’t as vital to online multiplayer offerings as Xbox Live, but it’s still a key component in Nintendo’s online services and its functionality will be needed as more players are restricted to their homes. Online platforms like Steam, for instance, have experienced record-breaking concurrent player numbers in the wake of many staying home from work during the coronavirus outbreak. Multiplayer games have been experiencing a huge amount of success as well, with the newly-released Call of Duty: Warzone eclipsing a staggering 15 million players early into its life cycle.

Related: Smash Bros Ultimate DLC Fighters Delayed By Coronavirus

Earlier today the official Nintendo of America Twitter account tweeted out an update on interruptions to the Nintendo eShop service. The statement acknowledged that players were having issues and experiencing errors while trying to access the Nintendo eShop, indicating that the Twitter account would be updated once the situationw as under control.

The biggest concern for many players right now is, if the issue continues to persist, it could interrupt the ability for many fans to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons when it releases this Friday, March 20, 2020. With many forced to remain indoors during the game’s launch period, not having the ability to digitally download the product would essentially make it unplayable. This would also be a disaster for Nintendo, as Animal Crossing: New Horizons is set to be one of the company’s biggest releases of the year. The game reviewed extremely favorably earlier this week and has been tagged as a potential Game of the Year contender.

For now, the Nintendo eShop errors are just a minor inconvenience with truly terrible timing. If they aren’t fixed in the near future, however, they threaten to throw a wrench into one of the most hyped releases of 2020 and, crucially, they may also prevent many players from accessing a game that is tailor-made to make people feel better about their situation. That would be unfortunate given the current industry climate and, hopefully, the Nintendo eShop can get everything under control in a short amount of time.

Next: Switch Joy-Con Drift Lawsuit Moves Forward (Despite Nintendo’s Efforts)

Source: Nintendo of America/Twitter

GTA Online Map Theory Backs Up GTA 6’s Vice City Location Rumors

Minecraft on Xbox Series X Looks Amazing

Taking full advantage of the Xbox Series X‘s exciting ray tracing capabilities, Minecraft looks absolutely amazing on the upcoming next-gen console. The robust lighting and shadow effects transform even Minecraft‘s blocky, low-texture world into a feast for the eyes, so it can only be imagined how great more graphically intensive titles might look when the Xbox Series X hits store shelves.

Minecraft has long served as a proving ground for some of the brightest and most artistic innovators, allowing skilled players to create anything from complex clocks and calculators to breathtaking marvels of architecture. While those feats of in-game ingenuity are player-generated, the game has also become a proving ground for new developer technologies due to its low graphical demand and bustling modding community. The most well-known and titillating subject among experimental Minecraft mods is ray tracing, a cutting edge rendering process that the Xbox Series X was recently confirmed to be capable of after Microsoft revealed the console’s impressive specs.

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Related: The Xbox Series X Load Time Is Insanely Fast In This Comparison Video

Showing that Xbox Series X ray tracing goes far beyond the visual overhauls offered by Minecraft shader packs, tech YouTuber Austin Evans shared an extensive hands-on look at a pre-release build of the next-gen machine. His footage of current-gen titles like Gears 5Forza Motorsport 7, and Minecraft demonstrates the huge leap in realism ray tracing will provide, and his Minecraft comparison clips are by far the most convincing. With the toggle of a setting, the familiar flat, low-resolution sights for which the game is known instantly turned into atmospheric vistas bathed in light rays, reflections, and deep shadows. Those who haven’t witnessed what a stark difference ray tracing makes can skip to around the 3-minute mark in the video below, as it’s something that really has to be seen to understand what one’s missing.

Clearly, ray tracing is no gimmick, and it’s exhilarating to know that this jaw-dropping technology is already making its way into the console market after only recently hitting high-powered PCs. (It’s still unconfirmed, but it’s rumored that the similarly powered PS5 will also be packing ray tracing capabilities.) As for what ray tracing actually is, it’s a highly GPU-intensive rendering process that takes simple lighting to the next level by applying direction, reflections, and, in some cases, even refraction to light sources and the objects that light rays touch. Although this tech seems most alluring for more photorealistic games, there’s a strong possibility that ray tracing coupled with 4K graphics and 60 FPS frame rates will result in performance bottlenecks and visual downgrades as developers try their hand at mastering it.

As long as the wait may currently feel, it’ll be no time until players get to experience Minecraft like never before with ray tracing enabled when the Xbox Series X tentatively launches this holiday season. There’s no guarantee that the budding technology will look quite as astonishing in more visually stylized titles, but that can’t put a damper on the exciting prospects of ray tracing-enabled gaming finally reaching consoles.

Next: Minecraft Dungeons New Video Reveals Unique Weapons & Deadly Flames

Source: Austin Evans/YouTube

GTA Online Map Theory Backs Up GTA 6’s Vice City Location Rumors

Games Inbox: Are you impressed by the Xbox Series X?

Xbox Series X – what do you think of it so far? (pic: Microsoft)

The Tuesday Inbox hears a defence of the Prince Of Persia sequels, as a reader offers more submarine game recommendations.

To join in with the discussions yourself email [email protected]

More info
So once again we see that Microsoft is willing to discuss the Xbox Series X quite openly and with essentially no fanfare. It’s a surprising policy to be honest, as to me it really underlines that they are the underdog and have to push themselves much harder than Sony. But they’re putting the work in and as much as I understand it the specs are impressive (and no doubt as irrelevant as ever when it comes to the reality of the situation).

They still haven’t announced any games, just that one glimpse at Hellblade 2 and the promise of Halo Infinite, so that would presumably have been the focus at E3. Which I guess they’re now trying to convert into some kind of Microsoft Direct livestream.

The big question though is whether the Xbox Series X will be delayed. Nothing that’s happened so far suggests it will but can even Microsoft know that. And if it is put back to next spring what happens to Halo Infinite? Surely they wouldn’t release that this Christmas only on Xbox One? Or would they? They have nothing else scheduled so I can’t see them wanting to go almost a year without releasing any kind of new Xbox game.

That’s why I think Microsoft will try and push for a launch this year even if stock is very low. We’ll see, but it is interesting how much they’ve shown so far and how little we still know about the PlayStation 5.

Surprise launch
The Xbox Series X full specs are pretty incredible to be honest.

It seems incredibly early though to be revealing it all if the release is late this year at the earliest, possibly next year because of the current pandemic. I do wonder if Microsoft is planning a mic drop moment and release well in advance of Sony.

As part of the full spec details Microsoft said the console is designed on the principles of power, speed, and compatibility. If they do see the Series X as part of a family of devices then maybe they will be happy to put it out early with a premium price with a limited number of units to sell.

While Sony is following the traditional console path it feels like Microsoft is trying a different road. Who knows, probably not and next year seems most likely for a release. Regardless of their plans the confirmed specs are very impressive.

GC: Microsoft has never suggested it’ll be any earlier than this Christmas. Given the current situation coming out earlier than expected seems incredibly unlikely.

Non-game quandary
Great Animal Crossing review, but there’s one thing that I’m struggling with and that’s whether it’s a game for me.

I like to think I like all types of games but have always worried the slightly meandering nature of these games would leave me bored and without much to keep me going.

I love open world games but also appreciate the objectives and tasks within those games as a sense of direction.

Is Animal Crossing for me then?!

GC: That’s hard to say. New Horizons is the most structured of the games but there’s still no overall goal or story. Perhaps a reader who’s been in a similar position can comment.

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

Expensive lesson
Oh well, there goes a lot of the goodwill that Microsoft have manage to generate.

Sony proved with the PlayStation Vita that all you have to do to sound the death knell on a great piece of hardware is to announce proprietary memory expansions for it. Those little 1TB SSD cartridges are going to be expensive. Ideally you’d want something like that to be available in massive abundance and be somewhere in the region of about £25, but we all know they’re going to be rarer than hen’s teeth and closer to £80 – £100.

I get why Microsoft are doing it, because larger size SSDs are megabucks, so I do glean a modicum of hope that these things will be affordable for that reason, but I won’t hold my breath.
Phil Spearpoint

GC: It’s just an optional extra.

Never-ending console
Another late entry regarding the PlayStation 2 20th anniversary. Many great games played, although I am going to mention my most memorable experiences.

I remember buying it back then in 2001 when my most played console at the time, the Dreamcast, was releasing less games due to Sega pulling out of console manufacturing in the same year. The reason I bought it was for Gran Turismo 3, after seeing an advert on TV and showing off its incredible graphics, which was a no brainer for a petrolhead like me.

Later I got Pro Evolution Soccer, which I would still say is the most realistic football game made.

Of course, I also played the GTA games, with Vice City being my favourite. This included buying the soundtrack to the game on CD so I could play the likes of Hall & Oates’ Out Of Touch and more when out in my car (rest assured I did not drive GTA style).

Even going into the 2010s I was still playing on the PlayStation 2 despite already owning an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The reason was because of Persona 3 and 4 being released in the late 2000s, showing that older hardware can still have great games. In fact, I am still finding out about games for the PlayStation 2 I never heard of back in its heyday. One I recommend is Dual Hearts, a platformer released by Atlus which never came to Europe.

And being a Japanese role-playing game fan, the amount of games released from that genre for the console is still impressive to this day and this is when you don’t factor in the Final Fantasy series.
orionz25 (PSN ID/Steam ID)

Dive in
Bodhi was asking about submarine games. He didn’t specify what kind of gameplay he wanted but if he’s like me he will probably be happy with anything as long as he’s controlling a sub. With that in mind, I would like to give him some examples of submarine games he might enjoy.

The Battlestations games on Xbox 360 and PC (Midway and Pacific) feature submarines, both in the story missions and as part of the challenge scenarios. The gameplay is an enjoyable mix of stealth, strategy, and action.

Naval Assault: The Killing Tide on Xbox 360 is a specialist sub game. It’s mainly an action game but there are some stealth elements.

Bodhi didn’t say what formats were available to him but if he has a 3DS he could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of Steel Diver. This is similar to The Hunt For Red October game that was released for the original Game Boy. It’s a fun, side-scrolling underwater adventure shooter with some light tactical components involving choosing the right moment to surface and make repairs without being sunk by the various enemies. There is also a separate mode which involves hunting an enemy fleet with your sub. This mode is not in 2D and is a much more tactical affair with some absolutely gripping moments.

Finally, if you’re the one person on the planet who hasn’t played it, GTA 5 has a small sub which features in some of the missions and can also be used to explore the sea around the island which is good fun when you find a shipwreck or find yourself being followed by a shark. At one point I triggered a cut scene in a naval yard and saw a full-size sub in dry dock in the background. When the cut scene was over, I went to have a look to see if I could get it into the water and maybe take it out to sea. Alas, when I approached it I realised it was still under construction with the entire front end missing! Why does Rockstar enjoy teasing us? Maybe GTA 6 will have a bigger map, a wider ocean and full-size submarines.

Anyway, I hope that helped. Maybe some other readers will know of some other submarine games. In the meantime… Dive! Dive! Dive!

All or nothing
And just like that the video games drought is over and everything seems to be happening all at once. Why is it the games industry only seems to have two gears? Fifth and park. Excited to see some high-scoring games out at last though and also the Resident Evil 3 demo this week. Hopefully that’s going to be one of the best games of next month.

Very interested to see what happens to Final Fantasy 7 Remake as well. I have no vested interest in it, and probably won’t get it at launch, but I have a feeling the Internet fights over it will be epic. My prediction: good reviews but the fans will nitpick it and eventually turn against it before the next one is out.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Late to the party
I’ve long put off playing Prince of Persia: Sands Of Time sequels Warrior Within and The Two Thrones because of the criticism expressed by fans of the original game, particularly directed at Warrior Within. I see from the Inbox that opinion persists.

Sands Of Time I enjoyed and particular locations/puzzles especially. But I did not revere the game as some people apparently do. Nevertheless, I took their word for it that Warrior Within was a poor follow-up and The Two Thrones, better but still not as good.

In the absence of having any alternative new games of that type I decided to play those two back to back recently. It was almost a case of getting them over and done with, although I was sure I’d squeeze some worthwhile entertainment value out of them. I did and quite honestly I ended up failing to understand what those Sands Of Time fans found so objectionable.

With Warrrior Within was I bothered by the now ‘grimdark’ Prince? No, but I was never invested in the original’s character either. That brickbat has been used to beat the game up ever since and overshadowed any objectivity in relation the gameplay which as far as I’m concerned is as good as, if not better, than the original.

The Two Thrones I have more trouble defending as the type of QTE-based gameplay schtick, used over and over again, I have always disliked and often positively hated. But whilst I’ve not had my mind changed on that, The Two Thrones uses it more imaginatively than any other game I can think of I’ve played. Again, sidelining my bias on that matter, I found much to enjoy, although it is my least favourite of the trilogy.

The lesson: be sceptical of any criticism of a game which has become common currency.
Malcolm Lawn

GC: Turning the Prince into a charmless, grimdark anti-hero was a large part of the original criticism, so if that, and the similarly try-hard visuals, don’t put you off then the games are still decent; although we still remember the level design as being better in the original.

Inbox also-rans
There are some Witcher goodies available for free for the next 48 hours on GOG.
Andrew J.

So even though there is an indie Direct this week we still don’t know if that means a proper one next week? The suspense is killing me!

This week’s Hot Topic
The question for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Gifford, who asks you to imagine your ideal next gen sequel.

Take any game or franchise that already exists and imagine it for the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. How would it differ from current versions and how would it take advantage of the superior graphics and faster load times? What other features do you hope it will have and what would’ve been impossible in the current gen?

How likely do you think what you’ve suggested is? What are you most excited about in the next gen: sequels or brand new titles that haven’t been announced yet?

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

MORE: Games Inbox: Video games to play at home, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Silent Hills redux

MORE: Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: PS2 20th anniversary memories

MORE: Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: PS2 20th anniversary memories

GTA & RDO Services Will Not Be Interrupted By Rockstar’s Remote Work Shift

Rockstar has announced that Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online services will not be affected by the company’s remote work policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GTA Online and Red Dead Online are MMOs packaged with and set in the worlds of Rockstar’s latest two blockbuster hits, Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2. Both involve creating a character to roam the world with friends, forming gangs, completing missions, and competing with other players, the former taking place in modern day Los Santos and the latter a post-Civil War Western. Both games receive constant updates, even after almost 7 years since GTA V‘s release, and consistently boast huge player counts–which in turn bring massive profits for Rockstar. Rockstar has even allowed the two behemoths to overlap, with one questline in GTA Online unlocking a unique gun for Red Dead Online.

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The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused shutdowns of everything from attending movie theaters to eSports tournaments and even causing E3, one of the biggest gaming events of the year, to cancel its 2020 event. Many companies are sending their employees to work from home when possible, including Rockstar, and schools and universities across the world have closed, meaning many people are home with little to do. Unsurprisingly, this means gaming is at an all time high, and after Xbox Live went down at such a crucial moment, people were worried that Rockstar’s remote work policy would spell doom for Red Dead or GTA.

Related: What GTA Online Needs To Improve With Grand Theft Auto VI

Via a tweet from Rockstar, however, those concerns have hopefully been addressed. A statement reads that their “online games will continue to operate as usual, and all support teams will remain available for our players.” This comes after a remote work system was put in place that allowed Rockstar’s teams “to continue their work with a minimum of disruption.”

GTA Online‘s longevity is in no doubt due to its consistent updates and changes that help make a game originally released way back in 2013 feel fresh and lively, including the addition of Formula 1 racing cars just a few weeks ago. Red Dead Online is still going through somewhat of a slow start, similar to GTA:O‘s humble beginnings, with problems such as strange pranks from hackers to connection issues so common to have been replicated in other games.

It’s a scary time in the world, and it is good to see companies like Rockstar do their part by minimizing the risk of COVID-19 spreading by developing a system that allows their employees to work remotely without affecting two of the most popular games in the world. Hopefully both Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online can stay strong and handle the increased player load as everyone games away their quarantine. Stay safe and healthy–be it from coronavirus or the terrifying Oppressor Mk II.

Next: Someone Has Created A Countdown Timer For The Rumored GTA 6 Announcement

Source: Twitter

Spawn Brutally Displays Violator In New Mortal Kombat 11 Fight Intro

GTA 6 Release Date Update

GTA 6 release date DELAY: Grand Theft Auto developer working on different project?

Grand Theft Auto fans might be facing an even longer wait for the reveal, as Rockstar seemingly focuses on a different project.

Fans clamouring for GTA 6 release date news will be disappointed to hear that Rockstar is planning a PC launch for Red Dead Redemption 2.

That’s according to alleged source code found within the Rockstar Social Club.

Shared by Twitter user JakoMako51 (below), the source code references PC Accomplishments.

Download the Beta Version of GTA 6

Assuming the leak is genuine, this seems like conclusive proof that Red Dead 2 is coming to the PC at some point in the future.

Perhaps when the PC version launches, we’ll finally hear more about GTA 6, which has been in the news a lot this week.

It all started with a new leak that suggested a dual setting for the upcoming open-world action game.

The leak, which emerged on Reddit, claimed that GTA 6 will be set in the 70s/80s and will feature just one playable protagonist.

The next Grand Theft Auto game will allegedly take place in Vice City and Rio de Janeiro.

It was also claimed that the Grand Theft Auto sequel would launch on PS5 and Xbox Scarlett.

This ties in to a previous leak that suggested GTA 6 would have a 2020 release date.

The same rumours suggest that Grand Theft Auto 6 would launch as a timed exclusive on Sony’s next-gen PS5 console.

According to an anonymous post on Pastebin, Sony allegedly paid “big money” to get timed exclusivity for GTA 6.

Reports have also suggested that GTA 6 won’t be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One “because of memory restrictions”.

This is due to the game having one of the biggest and most detailed maps in the history of video games.