News around the gaming and tech industry

Electronic Arts has announced that a Star Wars Battlefront "technical test" will take place in early October, with both a large-scale map—the 40-player Walker Assault on Hoth—and the smaller, more intimate two-player co-op Survival Mission on Tattoine set to appear. The beta will also include a brand-new mode called Drop Zone, which EA plans to reveal more about in the future.
We've seen Walker Assault and Survival in action already, thanks to their reveals at E3.Walker Assault comes is a riff on the opening Hoth battle in Empire Strikes Back, and features various sorts of ground and air units battling to take control of/escape from the rocky ball of ice. The map, and the beta, will also let players do battle as either Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, two of the hero/villain characters that will appear in the game.
Survival is a bit simpler: You and a fellow Rebel trooper are stranded on Tattoine—because it's always Tattoine, isn't it?—and must fight off increasingly difficult waves of Imperial forces, until they decide that you're too hot to handle and bugger off to do other things, like enforce the subclauses of an unfair trade agreement. Because who doesn't want to watch that, right George?
The beta will also see the launch of the Star Wars Battlefront Companion, a mobile app for iOS and Android that will feature the strategy card game Base Command and enable players to check their stats and progression, communicate with friends, and earn in-game credits used to unlock Star Cards, weapons, and other resources and assets.
EA hasn't revealed when the beta will take place any more precisely than "early October," nor has it said if it will be open or closed, or how you'll go about gaining access if it's the latter. You will have to use Origin to play the game, however, which shouldn't come as any surprise but is worth clarifying anyway, just in case.
If you were looking in to getting an Xbox One this year, then Microsoft’s latest bundle might be worth looking in to. It’s called the Elite bundle and as you would expect, that means it comes with Microsoft’s highly customisable Elite controller, but it also throws out the standard 500GB hard drive in favour of a much more reasonable 1TB hybrid-drive.
The hybrid drive will store frequently used files on the solid state part of the drive. The whole SSD partition is only around 8GB in size so you won’t be storing much on there but if anything, it could help with cold boot times and possibly loading up frequent apps. The main selling point here is the extra space, as 500GB on the normal Xbox One is severely limiting.
The console itself looks exactly the same, with the same half glossy, half vent top and the slot loading drive on the front. However, Microsoft has also thrown in the Elite Controller, which costs $150/£119.99 brand new. The controller itself uses stainless steel accents, rather than plastic. It also comes with several additional features, like swappable thumb sticks and D-pad, trigger hair locks and additional buttons on the back.
The whole bundle comes in at $499 in the US and will be available on the 3rd of November. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Xbox Wire announcement does not make any mention of UK or EU pricing and availability.
Guild Wars 2 is now free. You can  download and play it right now, for nothing. But rather than a full free-to-play transition, ArenaNet is instead changing what you pay for. The core game is free; the upcoming expansion—Heart of Thorns—is not.
"As we start to release expansions, it raises the question: in a buy-to-play business model, what exactly do we want you to buy in order to play?" ArenaNet president Mike O'Brien tells PC Gamer. "We've seen different games go in different directions. Sometimes it gets pretty complicated. Sometimes you have to buy the base game and then every single expansion so that you can get the latest stuff and play with your friends."
Instead, ArenaNet wants to make things simpler. "We hold ourselves to the very highest standards of buy to play," says O'Brien. "You just have to buy one thing." For the studio, that means making the original thing free.
"We believe that if people love Guild wars 2, they’re gonna buy the expansion pack," O'Brien says when I ask why ArenaNet is doing this. "The expansion pack is such a great value. There’s so much content, not only in the expansion pack but in all the free updates that will come past that." While Guild Wars 2 is now free, it won't receive future content updates—including the newly announced raids. Those are earmarked for Heart of Thorns, which will essentially become the live version of the game.
"And so that makes it really easy for us," says O'Brien. "Let’s make it so that anybody who wants to check out Guild Wars 2 can check out Guild Wars 2. And can really check out the game, not some free-to-play monetised version of the game."
THE NEXT TIME you’re about to scold your kid—or spouse—for spending too much time playing videogames instead of enjoying the sunny weather, consider this: They could be preparing for a career in motorsports. That’s a possibility Nissan and Sony have created with their “GT Academy,” a worldwide contest to find skilled racing gamers and make them into skilled racing drivers, then send them to the big leagues.
Becoming a professional athlete is hard. Aside from receiving a healthy dose of God-given talent, aspiring athletes need to put in huge amounts of practice, then be discovered by someone in a position to get them to the big leagues.
The popularity of Twitch and Let’s Plays has made it so that full playthroughs of brand new games are online within hours of the game going on sale. For some, it’s the preferred way to learn about a game, as opposed to reading a review or watching gameplay trailers, and other times it’s just good entertainment. Streaming becomes particularly effective (and perfect) when it comes to games of the horror variety; there’s just something about watching others get scared.
Until Dawn is one of the latest games to find success through streaming, because it’s both a brand new game and one that belongs to the horror genre. It’s been a while since the game’s initial announcement trailer, but recent reviews(including our own) have given the title what must be a much appreciated boost to its  popularity. As said previously, horror games are incredibly well liked and make for fun Let’s Plays for audiences to enjoy, and Until Dawn is no exception, despite the clichés and horror movie tropes.
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    •  Jamie

      Just found on the server old JR Minecraft server files, this could contain the original JRCraft world, that was very popular in it's prime (50-100 players at once)
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      Is the server down? My friend and I have been trying to play but it says "Can't connect to server" is this happening to anyone else, or is it just me and my friend?
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    •  TeOzFrAnK

      Fixed registering group syncing from website to minecraft servers :).
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      I registered a few days ago and it still says that I have to register on the actual game. Whats up with that? Is registration down?
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