Free advice: How Nintendo can boost 3DS sales (Sony, you can listen too)

Nintendo’s price drop for its 3DS – $169.99 from $249.99 – is the day’s biggest gaming news, and probably something gamers and business journalists will be talking about and debating for the next few days, if not weeks.

The early consensus, which I tend to agree with, is that consumers are unwilling to shell out $250 for a portable game console when they can play games on their smartphones. If a customer is already paying for an iPhone or Android device that can play 99-cent games, why pay more money for another device that plays $40 games?

The only reason, for many people, would be that those $40 games are 40 times more valuable to players than what is available on a smartphone. That is not always going to be the case, and even though I like the 3DS, I think it will be Nintendo’s last handheld.

And I predict the same thing for Sony’s next handheld, the PlayStation Vita. By all accounts, the Vita looks like it will be a terrific piece of technology with a competitive library of games, but I won’t be surprised if Sony finds themselves having to lower the Vita’s price after launch in order to make up for slower-than-expected sales.

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Nintendo throws Hail Mary, lowers 3DS price

Nintendo announced a big price drop for their still-new 3DS portable gaming system. The Big N slashed $80 from the devices’ MSRP, bringing it down to $169.99 from $249.99.

There’s more: Nintendo also revealed plans to release a package of downloadable NES and Game Boy Advance titles for the 3DS. Players who buy the system before the price drop – Nintendo has taken to calling them “3DS Ambassadors” – can get the games free of any additional charge.

The 3DS’ price drop, to be effective Aug. 12, follows many reports, such as this one, of disappointing sales for the new handheld. The 3DS’s big selling point was its 3D visuals, but readers can go to virtually any gaming website and read comments from players lamenting a relative lack of games for the new system.

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Review: NCAA Football 12

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NCAA Football 12 asks gamers the same question every summer:

Do you need a new college football game?

Die-hard fans who have no problem spending $60 on each year’s edition already know the answer to that question, and those who wait a few seasons between purchases will likely be pleased with EA Sports’ latest iteration of their college football franchise.

NCAA 12 offers some new features to a franchise that has offered a solid replication of the college football experience for well over a decade. New stuff, like team-specific pregame rituals. add some flavor to this year’s edition. But anyone who has played an NCAA Football game before knows what to expect at this point.

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Review: Call of Juarez – The Cartel (X360)

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Call of Juarez: The Cartel is a game that likes making you wait.

Health regeneration is usually a fast and painless way to get back into the thick of things, but not here. In-game cell phone calls can’t be canceled even if you’ve heard them before, and that problem carries over to multiplayer co-op where everyone has to wait until their scripted personal time is finished.

If there’s an explosion nearby, expect to get knocked on your ass and being forced to wait as you get back up. There’s a reason most FPS shooters don’t do this to the player, and it’s not because of realism issues. If you’re thinking “because it’s not fun”, you’re already ahead of this game. 
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Megaman Legends 3 Canceled

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A message posted to Megaman Legends 3′s Developer Room site has confirmed the worst: Megaman won’t be returning to his RPG-lite series on the 3DS.

The project had elicited the help of fans in designing a new character for the game as well as a new robot enemy through contests designed to bring fans closer to the production of the title.

Regular updates were made by the staff within a “Developer Room” site at Capcom’s Japanese and North American sites, fielding questions and keeping everyone updated on the project. It was a rare level of transparency that Platinum Games’ had also engaged fans with through blog entries following the development of games such as Bayonetta.

When Keiji Inafune had left Capcom shortly after Capcom had revealed their Megaman Legends 3 project for the Nintendo 3DS, fans were understandably worried over whether the project would survive without him.

It was already a huge surprise to many considering that the last Legends game, Mega Man Legends 2, came out in 2000. The Mega Man godfather had even mentioned interest in doing a follow-up to Legends 2 in an interview with Gamespot in 2007.

Capcom did their best to assure everyone that the the game wouldn’t be impacted by Inafune’s departure, though it’s hard not to think about the kind of influence one-time series producer could have brought to the game. Yet the collection of blog postings and updates at Capcom’s Developer Room had shown that the team behind the game was working to make it a worthy successor to the series that Inafune had started.

And now, it looks like we’ll never know how it could have turned out at all.

Just in case you wanted to watch it, there’s a new teaser trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises”

Check out this new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises, if you like Batman movies.

The official site links to the movie’s Facebook page, but it looks like you can watch it without having to “Like” like it.

The trailer, as befits a teaser trailer, doesn’t show much. You get to see some shots from “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight,” Gary Oldman portraying a seemingly injured or infirm Commissioner Gordon and Batman getting ready to fight Bane.

Bane as a nemesis seems like a bold choice, given the last time the villain appeared in a Batman movie, it was in the laughable “Batman and Robin.” He’s also a villain that a lot of casual viewers probably won’t recognize, but director Christopher Nolan also made Batman Begins work with Ra’s al Ghul work as the main villain before bringing in the Joker for The Dark Knight.

H/t to io9.

First Impressions of Google+

If you have Internet access, you have probably heard of Google+, which is basically the search engine giant’s answer to Facebook.

If you don’t have Internet access, how are you reading this?

Like Facebook, Google + lets users and their friends share every detail about their personal life. The difference, and Mountain View-based Google’s selling point, is that you can put your friends, acquaintances and family members into different, customizable “circles,” so different information is shared with different users.

At first glance, it seems like a decent way to manage information feed and the dreaded “mom is on Facebook” dilemma. Also, users’ contacts won’t know which circle they are in, which would avoid the complications of having to publicly describe peers as “friends” or “acquaintances.”

If circle scheme works, users may indeed be able to acknowledge that they do indeed have a mother while still having the freedom to post pictures involving massive amounts of tequila and poor judgment.


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Trailer released for Fallout: New Vegas: Old World Blues

Old World Blues, the third DLC episode for Fallout: New Vegas takes the post-apocalyptic game to a place of disembodied minds and really weird science, based on this trailer.

I can’t embed the trailer because it’s M-rated and our blogging software won’t let us put the madness behind an age gate. If you’re old enough, click the link to see hints of a story that has something to do with people whose minds have been downloaded into robots with big television screens for eyes, robo-scorpions and many, many large weapons.

Old World Blues is scheduled for a July 19 release for PlayStation Network, Steam and XBox Live.

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NCAA Football 12, Harry Potter games in stores today

NCAA Football 12 (unasked-asked-for editorializing: I always preferred it to Madden) comes out today for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.

The 2012 edition of EA Sports’ college football franchise not only lets players assume the role of head coach or player, but also conference executive. The game’s features include an option to realign conferences, allowing fans to relive the fun of the last off-season’s conference moves and (I assume) create their own Pac-Integer or put San Diego State in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Whatever players do, it can’t be much loss logical than the Big 10 having 12 teams and the Big 12 having 10 teams. (You’ve heard that joke before? Sorry.)

Other features include the “Road to Glory” and “Coaching Carousel” career modes as well as animal mascots and team-specific pregame traditions. I haven’t had a chance to play this game yet, but college football is generally awesome.

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