Xbox Live Currently Experiencing Issues for Some Players

Xbox Live and much of its functionality may be down for some users on both Xbox One and Xbox 360, and Microsoft is investigating the problems.

Microsoft’s Xbox Status support page currently acknowledges a handful of issues affecting Xbox Live services, TV, apps, and certain games.

Players may be running into issues with matchmaking, cloud storage, finding friends, Game DVR, leaderboards, avatar editing, and pictures on the social and gaming side, while others may be running into store issues of buying items, redeeming codes, or downloading any purchases.

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Battlefield 1’s Community Test Environment Will Soon Be Playable Only On PC

Since early 2017, DICE has allowed players to test out in-progress updates to Battlefield 1 on a special server called the Community Test Environment. This allows the developer to stress-test some of its upcoming changes before releasing them to the wider public. Recently, however, DICE announced that it’ll no longer use the CTEs on PS4 and Xbox One.

The studio announced on Reddit that it will stop releasing updates to the CTE on PS4 and Xbox One in order to focus on PC development. PC players can already update their CTE to the latest version in order to try out March’s slate of improvements.

DICE also stated in the post that all upcoming updates deployed to the PC CTE are for “developmental feedback purposes” and won’t necessarily be released. In addition, since the console CTEs are being shut down, PS4 and Xbox One players can now delete the CTE download from their systems.

In addition to this news, DICE provided a bit of a tease, stating, “We do have some exciting news coming soon for both PC and console players.” There’s no word on what this news is yet, or if it’s even Battlefield 1-related. It could be referencing a new Battlefield title–recently, rumors have sprung up that Battlefield V will take place during World War II.

Xbox Live Is Having Some Issues Again

After last week’s widespread Xbox Live outage, the network is experiencing issues again today. The Xbox Live Service Status page shows that a number of services are running into problems right now, including Purchase and Content Usage, TV, Music, and Video, and Social and Gaming. Both Xbox One and Xbox 360 are affected.

Things like viewing achievements; browsing, purchasing, and viewing video content; and buying games, redeeming codes, and downloading purchases are all affected.

Core services like signing into Xbox Live and matchmaking are still up and running normally, so that’s good news. Last week’s outage prevented many players from signing in at all, which is obviously a big deal.

The dinosaur survival game Ark: Survival Evolved is one of the affected titles. The developer said players are reporting that some are having problems launching the game or, if they can, seeing any available servers.

As always, your mileage may vary with all service interruption. The good news is Microsoft is aware of the problems and is actively working on a fix. So keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

Netflix Just Released Two Terrifying New Horror Movies You Don’t Want To Miss

The growth of Netflix as both a production studio and distributor has been so fast that it’s strange to think that it’s only been five years since the company produced its first show. Since then, the service has delivered an incredible amount of original movie and episodic content, both its own productions and titles that it has bought for exclusive distribution.

That has its benefits–never has so much content been so readily available on one platform, with more titles being added almost daily. But the downside, of course, is that it’s easy to miss stuff, especially when so many movies and shows are being released every month.

Case in point: two of the best horror movies of the past year–Veronica and Ravenous–have made their debut on the service in the past two weeks. Netflix has always been a great place to find modern independent horror, but these releases show that the service is also interested in providing a platform for great horror film to premiere. Both movies picked up impressive festival reviews last year and deliver fresh, exciting spins of well-worn formulas.

SPANISH SCARES

The Spanish-language Veronica is a ghost story, and it comes with an impressive pedigree–director Paco Plaza is one of Spain’s most prominent horror directors, having co-directed the hugely successful [REC] series. Loosely based on real events, it focuses on the titular teenage girl, who makes the unwise decision to contact her dead father via a ouija board during an eclipse. Inevitably, she summons something else from beyond the grave and spends the rest of the movie haunted by a spectral figure.

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So far so traditional, but Veronica‘s strengths lie not so much in a storyline that runs back through movies like Insidious and Poltergeist, but more in the characters and Plaza’s ability to deliver scares. Veronica’s mom must work long hours in a neighborhood bar, leaving the older girl to look after her three siblings. What starts as cooking their meals and getting them to school soon becomes a mission to protect them from whatever unseen force is following her.

Plaza imbues a real sense of danger around the children, helped by strong performances from the young actors. He wisely steers clear of much of the overt digital trickery of modern horror, instead using clever lighting, physical effects, and aural tricks to spook the audience rather than bombard them with CGI. It’s a smart and scary movie that also comes with a real emotional charge.

THE QUIET DEAD

Ravenous‘ set-up is just as generic, but the movie is more unusual in its execution. It’s a zombie survival thriller; as an undead virus sweeps across Quebec, a group of survivors come together to travel across the country and stay alive. With the sheer ubiquity of zombies in pop culture over the past decade, primarily through the huge popularity of The Walking Dead, it’s hard to see a way to make the undead scary again. But director Robin Aubert manages it via a series of left field story choices and a strange, unsettling atmosphere.

These aren’t the slow shambling zombies of The Walking Dead or George Romero’s classic horror movies. In part they’re more like the sprinting, snarling creatures of 28 Days Later or Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. But they are more than that–seemingly possessed with strange intelligence, they communicate through otherworldly shrieks and perform strange rituals, such as stacking chairs into insane wooden towers. And while the more traditional zombie can spend what feels like hours catching up to their victims, the monsters of Ravenous have an unfortunate habit of suddenly appearing unannounced right next to their victims.

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Ravenous also scares through its tone. The dialogue is sparse, and Aubert refrains from giving his characters any real backstories. It doesn’t matter either–all we know need to know is that these people want to survive. There are long, silent stretches punctuated by sudden bursts of gore and screaming, plus a weird sense of humor; Ravenous is surely the first zombie movie in which a main character is saved by a woman playing an accordion.

Horror movies have never been more popular than they are right now–the massive mainstream success of both It and Get Out proved that audiences simply can’t enough of the scary stuff. Inevitably that means plenty of flops, rip-offs, and subpar imitations, especially on the streaming platforms. But those services are also the perfect home for horror–the stuff that is perhaps too strange or too challenging for a wide release but will be lapped up horror fans looking for the next cult classic. In previous eras those movies might have gone straight to DVD, but can now be found by an audience far bigger than they would ever have otherwise achieved. Veronica and Ravenous are perfect examples of this, and are a must-watch by lovers of the genre.

Stardew Valley Publisher’s New Harry Potter-Like RPG Now Has A Name

Chucklefish, the publisher of the beloved farming sim Stardew Valley, has announced a name for its upcoming magical school RPG. The mysterious title formerly known as Project Spellbound has now been christened WitchBrook.

Chucklefish CEO Finn Brice announced the game’s new name on Twitter. While he didn’t reveal any other new information about the title, he did share an image of it with its new logo, which you can take a look at below.

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Chucklefish has thus far shared very few details about WitchBrook, but it’s quickly become one of the publisher’s most intriguing projects, due in large part to its premise. The game has been described as “Stardew meets Harry Potter,” with players assuming the role of a student at a magic school.

In addition to the main story, WitchBrook will feature dating sim elements and other activities for players to do. Chucklefish also says the game’s combat system was inspired by 2D Legend of Zelda games, except that players will wield magic spells rather than a sword and shield.

Chucklefish hasn’t announced a release date for WitchBrook, but Brice says the game is “still quite a way off.” The title has currently only been announced for PC, but given Stardew Valley’s appearance on other platforms, it seems likely that WitchBrook will follow suit sometime down the line.