Sony cuts price of PlayStation 3 to $249

Sony has revealed it will drop the price of its PlayStation 3 console.

The global price cut, announced during the Gamescom video game conference in Germany, will take effect immediately.

The cut applies to both the 160 GB and 320 GB models, which will now sell for $249 and $299 respectively. A handful of bundles featuring the PlayStation Move and Activision first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops are also available.

“The new price will make the PS3 more accessible than ever before,” says Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Jack Tretton in a statement posted on the official PlayStation blog.

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Sony to deploy PS3 PSN Firmware Update 3.70

Sony Corp. this week said it will deploy the Firmware Update 3.70 to the Playstation Network division of the Playstation 3 soon.

System Software Update 3.70 will include Auto Online Game Saves and Auto Trophy Sync for Playstation Plus members.

Additional updates include a TV/Video division in the XMB, which will include Netflix, Hulu Plus and VUDU applications, Blu-ray 3D support when accessing Java-based special features, DTS-HD MA, DTS-HD HR decoding/bit stream output when playing 3D Blu-ray titles, and 3D functionality for 3D photos in MPO format.

Finally, the company said System Software Update 6.60 will be released to the PSP shortly.

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Sony PlayStation Vita pushed into 2012 for U.S. and Europe

Sony’s launch of its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming system won’t occur this holiday season in the U.S. and is now being pushed into 2012.

The new gaming system, which will be a follow-up to both the successful but aging PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the slow-selling PSP Go, was previously expected to hit retailers in the U.S. and Europe by the end of the year.

That will no longer be the case, Sony Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai told Bloomberg on Thursday. He added, however, that the Vita will launch in Japan before the end of the year.

By not having the Vita in U.S. and European stores this holiday shopping season, Sony is passing up on a chance to rake in big sales.

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Nintendo President apologizes for 3DS price drop

If you are among the not quite one million people that ran out to purchase a Nintendo 3DS, despite its numerous flaws, odds are you are a little bit steamed right now. When the 3DS was introduced, it launched with a handful of titles but none of them were particularly major, plus the system’s software was half complete. The promised Netflix app was nowhere to be found, the Nintendo e-store wasn’t up yet, and the web browser was AWOL. But hey it was 3D! Yay. True, Nintendo fans took it with a smile and assumed that soon their loyalty would be rewarded with the updated software and a wide selection of new games.

But then came the price drop. People that originally purchased the 3DS shelled out $249.99, but due to poor sales and overall poor profits for the company, Nintendo decided to lower the price to $170 starting August 12. So basically, the reward for the people that have purchased a 3DS since its March launch is an $80 fine. Fans were not amused.

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Sony buys inFamous game developer Sucker Punch

It seems Sony is quite pleased with the work development studio Sucker Punch did with its recently launched “inFamous 2″ game for the PlayStation 3. Pleased enough, in fact, Sony has bought the company outright.

Sony Computer Entertainment just announced that it acquired Sucker Punch Productions — the developer behind both “inFamous” and “inFamous 2″ as well as the Sly Cooper games. The acquisition makes Sucker Punch the 16th internally-owned studio at SCE’s Worldwide Studios.

Sony did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.

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Microsoft Raises Price For Xbox Live Gold Membership

Microsoft announced on Monday morning that it was increasing the price of an Xbox Live Gold membership by $10, from $49.99 to $59.99 a year, including for existing members in the U.S. starting November 1st. Members in the U.K., Canada and Mexico will also see price increases. The new price, the first time the company has ever raised its rates, represents a 20% increase, which will likely have a significant impact on the revenues of the moneymaking service.

The company is also raising the 3-month price of Gold membership from $19.99 to $24.99 and 1-month price from $7.99 to $9.99. But those who act quickly may be able to get a 1-year lock in price of $39.99, according to a special deal that launched on Monday as well.

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Wii titles drag down July video game sales

Combined sales of video games and consoles fell for the fourth consecutive month in July, slumping 1% as U.S. consumers pulled back on buying new titles, with games for Nintendo Co.’s Wii suffering in particular.

A 12% jump in sales of game consoles last month failed to entirely offset an 8% drop in sales of games to play on the devices. Overall, players spent $846.5 million for consoles, games and game peripherals in July, down slightly from $850.6 million a year earlier, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

“Hardware sales were impressive, but software sales were still down,” said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.

The summer doldrums hit Nintendo software sales for its Wii console especially hard.

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New Cole Out, Old Cole In for InFamous 2

When InFamous 2 was shown off at E3 back in June, it again featured superpower-wielding Cole as the main character, but not as fans remembered him: Whereas the original Cole had a shaved head and sporty yellow jacket, the new Cole had hair and arm tattoos.

But before their Comic-Con panel, developer Sucker Punch confirmed that due to overwhelmingly negative fan reaction, they’ve decided to change Cole’s look back to the original design for InFamous 2. Images of Cole’s new (and by new we mean old) look haven’t been released yet, although IGN describes him as looking “more like the person we played as in the original InFamous.”

It’s not a big surprise to see Sucker Punch revert Cole to his old look, as even back at E3 we got the feeling from game director Nate Fox’s almost apologetic tone that they would consider a redesign if fans weren’t happy. Turns out, fans weren’t happy.

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Microsoft to sell Kinect at $150, also sell bundles

Microsoft Corp will sell its new Kinect motion-sensing gaming system for about $150 and also offer it in a package with the Xbox 360 videogame console when sales of the hands-free device start in November, the company said on Tuesday.

The price, omitted by Microsoft when it introduced Kinect at the E3 videogame conference in June, matches the pre-order price that retailers such as Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon.com posted online weeks ago.

Kinect sales start on November 4, and Microsoft is sure to aim its marketing message at the owners of the more than 40 million Xbox 360 models that have already been sold. The sensor will come with a family game called “Kinect Adventures.”

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PlayStation Plus not a requirement for Hulu Plus – Report

In the past few weeks, Hulu’s incorporation with the PlayStation 3 has traveled from a unconfirmed report to a done deal. Particulars have slowly scampered out from the recesses of the deal, but today, the streaming media giant confirmed that Hulu Plus will not require a subscription to PlayStation Plus to enjoy the smorgasbord of content.

Last week, Hulu’s Web site indicated that a subscription to the PlayStation Network’s new premium service would be required to access Hulu’s $10-a-month on-demand TV show streaming service through the PS3. However, gaming blog Joystiq is reporting that Hulu is sending e-mails to its Hulu Plus constituents saying “the PlayStation Plus service is only a requirement during the service’s preview period.”

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