Gamescom news and notes: Sony slashes PlayStation 3 price by $50

The Globe and Mail

Gamescom, the world’s largest video game trade fair—it attracts more than a quarter million attendees, most members of the gaming public, each year—is currently under way in Cologne, Germany. Though not usually a platform for the industry's biggest announcements, the massive event usually generates at least a few interesting tidbits of information. I’m keeping an eye on the show from a distance, and I’ll report in here with any major news.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 PC edition will have dedicated servers

Among the biggest beefs voiced by PC gamers after the release of Activision's blockbuster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was that it didn't support private servers. Activision said this was to help reduce cheating and ensure the sort of fair competitions it said took place on consoles, but that did little to assuage the anger of PC gamers who felt cheated themselves.

Good news for these players came Wednesday when Activision announced at Gamescom that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will permit dedicated servers. No word on how this will affect the publisher's plan to host thousands of competitions with real prize rewards, but one has to think that cheaters are already salivating over the possibility of being able to tilt the odds in their favour.

Source: IGN

PlayStation 3 global price drop

Sony announced that it is slashing the cost of the PlayStation 3 by $50, which moves the console’s suggested retail price from $299.99 to $249.99. I checked in with major Canadian retailers Wednesday morning and the cut already seems to be in effect.

And here I remember waiting in line for hours to pay nearly $700 for my PlayStation 3 five years ago. Boy, do I feel sheepish.

Source: PlayStationBlog

Europe gets revamped Wii, PSP

Nintendo announced that a horizontal Wii bundled with Wii Party, Wii Sports, a Wii Remote Plus and a nunchuk will come to European store shelves this fall. The Japanese company also mentioned that, unlike the current Wii, the new console would not offer backward compatibility with Gamecube hardware and software. No price has been set.

Sony, meanwhile, unveiled a new PSP for European customers with the model number E-1000. The new matte-finish device will sell for the relatively cheap price of €99.00, though it will lack WiFi support, meaning users will need to connect to the web through a PC.

Sources: Eurogamer; uk.playstation.com

Ubisoft unveils six Vita games, Sony announces four Vita apps

Ubisoft has a history of delivering strong support for new hardware, and the upcoming PlayStation Vita is no different. The French publisher announced that it is currently at work on half a dozen titles for Sony's high-tech handheld, including an Assassin’s Creed game, a Rayman platformer, an Asphalt racing game, a handheld version of Michael Jackson: The Experience, an action RPG called Dungeon Hunter Alliance, and—this is the one that grabs my attention—a brand new version of Lumines, one of the best block puzzlers released in the past decade.

In other Vita news, Sony announced four new social apps that will be free to download when the device releases in 2012: Facebook, Twiiter, Foursqure, and Skype. No real surprise here, but folks with friends should be happy to know Sony’s handheld will meet their digital socializing needs.

Source: Ubisoft; Engadget

Cute little Kinectimals for your phone?

Kinect's cuddly cat game Kinectimals has proven one of the most popular kids games ever released for Xbox 360. So should it come as a surprise that a new version is being developed for Windows Phone 7 handsets? I think so. Unless you’re planning on handing over your $600 smart phone to your kids on a regular basis, I’m not sure that this will find a proper audience.

Source: Joystiq

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword release date announced

Zelda fans concerned that Nintendo had yet to announce a 2011 date for Link's second major Wii adventure can finally rest easy. Nintendo announced Tuesday that the green-clad adventurer and his fair-haired princess will return to the game giant's svelte white box on November 20th. Better still, Nintendo's Scott Moffitt claims that " The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the biggest game in the series yet."

Source: IGN