Epic Games is having its own Christmas hangover. On Wednesday, a number of Fortnite players reported long queues that time out and problems logging in to Fortnite’s servers. The company is aware of the issue and tweeted that it’s investigating the cause behind the outage that some users are running into when they try to log in.
We were able to replicate the problem around 1 p.m. Pacific Time, with the game repeatedly throwing us into a queue for around five minutes before timing out. One time, we did successfully log in. When the login failed we were met with the message “Unable to join the Fortnite login queue. Please try again later.” Update: As of 2 p.m. Pacific Time, the queue is stretching closer to 10 minutes. At the end of the queue countdown we are still unable to log in.
Epic has pointed eager holiday players to its status page, where the company reports a “minor service outage” affecting Game Services. The page also notes that Login and Matchmaking are currently experiencing “degraded performance.” TechCrunch has reached out to Epic about the cause of the downtime.
While it’s not quite as catastrophic for an online game as a proper Christmas day outage, the time between Christmas and New Year’s is sure to be a massive week for Epic’s hit game. Given that Epic makes bank charging for cosmetic upgrades through an online store, we’d be curious how much revenue the company loses every minute Fortnite is down during a peak play time. On the other hand, we might rather not know.
2018 has been a big year for big games, and with new titles from the …
GamersNexus has been a staple of our RSS feeds for more than a decade. The site has quickly become a must-read for anyone looking to build a PC, especially a gaming PC. And in addition to running that enterprise, Editor-in-Chief Steve Burke has more recently become a staple of our weekly viewing, too, as he helms GamersNexus’ equally popular YouTube channel.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to realize thatGamersNexus clearly shares a lot of DNA with the Orbital HQ. In every video, Burke and his team both inform and entertain, skimping neither on technical jargon nor opportunities to create useful Reddit memes. By now, GamersNexus videos have focused on everything from putting PCs from Walmart through genuine technical paces to emptying (literally, emptying) a tube of thermal paste on a poor CPU. You’ll learn useful info every time, even if it’s what new parts not to covet.
“I think we made it pretty clear in the video, but if someone is trying to build a PC and wonders, ‘Hmm, how do I apply thermal paste?” they type in ‘thermal paste,’ they click on this video, and then they watch five seconds and go, ‘Oh, I get it. I don’t need the rest of this tutorial,”‘ Burke told Ars in our recent Personal History interview. “Otherwise they’d have a pretty messy CPU socket, I think.” (Burke, by the way, suggests the best way to actually apply thermal paste is just by making a quick X. “It allows me to get CPUs up to 5GhZ, 6GhZ, no problem.”)
In our 25-minute chat above, Burke is generous with the liquid nitrogen, shares tips for making successful how-to videos, and fields troubleshooting questions on everything from all black wiring to handling dead bugs in the power supply. Come for the discussion of CPU fans, stay for learning why component jargon is the one true universal language.
QAnon adherents called it “the storm.” At midday on Wednesday, there were supposed to be blackouts across the US, military tribunals led by Donald Trump and the mass execution of Democrats in the streets.
It did not happen. Instead, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th US president and the day of reckoning anticipated by the pro-Trump conspiracy cult failed to materialize, dismaying the faithful.
“QAnon believers invested all their remaining hopes in false beliefs that Trump would take action validating their theories before or during inauguration,” said Jared Holt, a research fellow focused on extremism at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “For some followers, watching Biden and (Vice-president Kamala) Harris sworn into office was a breaking point in their beliefs.”
QAnon followers had been among the rioters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 in the hopes of overturning the results of the November presidential election, which Mr. Trump and many of his followers say was rigged.
According to QAnon prophecies, Mr. Trump would maintain power as electrical outages spread across the US on January 20. But when the lights stayed on in America, the mood in QAnon circles turned dark.
Believers began proclaiming: “Nothing!!!!” on messaging apps, their verdict sometimes accompanied by angry face or broken heart emojis.
“We all got scammed, you caused us all to lose friends over this charade,” posted one member of a QAnon discussion group created a few days after the Capitol riot. “Now we all sit with egg on our face.”
“Q,” the pseudonymous poster or posters behind the nearly 5,000 arcane messages that form the central scripture of the conspiracy theory, did not offer any explanation.
But Ron Watkins, whose father owns the imageboard where QAnon’s posts are hosted, said: “We gave it our all. Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”
The setback was only the latest in a series of reversals for the QAnon movement, whose ranks grew dramatically in 2020 during coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns.
Facebook said on Tuesday that it had removed more than 40,000 QAnon Facebook and Instagram pages and accounts since August as part of a clampdown on extremists. Accounts belonging to QAnon influencers were removed by Twitter earlier this month, shortly before the website permanently suspended Mr. Trump.
QAnon supporters were also affected by the closure of Parler, the “free speech” social network popular with conservatives, after Amazon suspended web hosting services to the platform earlier this month.
Nevertheless, some QAnon believers attempted to find ways to explain the situation, or fell back on the cryptic messages that characterized many of QAnon’s posts. “Trust the plan,” wrote one.
Experts warned that individual conspiracies within the wider ideology—such as anti-5G and anti-vaccine narratives—would likely live on, possibly morphing into something more menacing.
“For many people, there won’t be an easy step back. The engagement cycle has been too addicting and empowering,” said Molly McKew, chief executive of consultancy Fianna Strategies and an information warfare expert. “And what if they decide to latch on to a new, less lazy and incompetent leader than Trump? The power in this belief system hasn’t dispersed yet.”
Following this Wednesday alert, Twitch confirmed to Ars Technica that this was no accident: Trump’s account is indeed outright banned. Twitch continues to call the ban an “indefinite suspension,” but it has not offered any timeline for its return or steps that its account holders (either Trump himself or any representatives) may take to reverse the decision. Wednesday’s news lines up with a Tuesday claim by DW News reporter Dana Regev, who had hinted at Twitch waiting until after President Joe Biden’s inauguration to make a firmer ruling on the previous ban.
The service took the rare step of outlining the exact reason for the ban, a courtesy generally not reserved to those affected. This lack of clarity emerged in particular when Twitch offered no explanation for banning Guy “DrDisrespect” Beahm in the wake of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
In Trump’s case, Twitch cited “the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence” as a primary reason for the ban. The statement, as issued to Ars Technica by a Twitch representative, continued:
The President’s statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action to remove the potential for harm to our community and the general public.
Twitch has clear rules that prohibit hateful conduct, harassment, or incitement of violence on our service, and we consider off-service events when making enforcement decisions. However, the events of the past weeks have highlighted a gap with respect to rhetoric that encourages violence, regardless of whether or not it was directly streamed on Twitch. We will be updating our policies as a result of our consideration of this situation.
Twitch has recently enacted sweeping new rules to allow moderators to take context into account when deciding whether content qualifies as “hateful” speech. In December, the company’s official channel cited specific gamer slang terms as examples of this context-sensitive approach, but the resulting video became widely cited as being an official ban on certain words and a hint of jargon whack-a-mole as opposed to an example of sweeping moderation changes to come.
Today’s statement strongly hints that Twitch’s rule-changing stance is far from over and that the company is clearly looking to enforce the rules, based on statements made outside of Twitch video streams.
Feels bad, man
The @DonaldTrump account, launched in October 2019, was used to either livestream or rebroadcast official Trump speeches and affiliated events as opposed to hosting the service’s usual gaming-related video streams—all while hosting a chat channel for the account’s followers. Twitch has long faced issues with chat toxicity, particularly with many streamers continuing to embrace the “Pepe frog” meme without denouncing white supremacists’ embrace of the icon (a fact that led its original creator to sue those who co-opted the image without his consent).
Trump’s Twitch account had been in hot water previously due to its rebroadcasts of rule-breaking speeches. His channel’s last temporary ban, enacted on June 29, happened because it had aired his notorious statements about Mexico “sending… rapists” to the United States.