Weekend deals: COD4 and the Target Wii sale

Target store logo.As the holidays inch ever closer it’s nice to be up on all the latest deals. Some of them are even good enough to get a little something for yourself.

For starters, Target is offering the buy-2-get-1 deal that’s been so popular lately on Wii games. Unfortunately it only applies to games (no accessories this time around) but it is for every game. Get yourself some Wii Sports Resort and throw the other two at your brother/son/roommate. No sense sending them out of the house, right? Sale starts tomorrow.

Steam’s offering a chance to play through COD4 before the release of Modern Warfare 2 drops. The old-school version is a whopping 40% off retail, down to $23.99, up until Monday. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t played the game, but if you lost your discs or something, at least Steam is here for you.


N-Gage goes the way of the dodo

Nokia's N-Gage going the way of the Dodo.Nokia will be closing the doors to its wildly unpopular N-Gage gaming service next year, according to an official blog post today. The service never really got off the ground, which isn’t much of a surprise. Remember those phones? They were absurd. After that it became an online platform with a following most industry folks would call “cute.”

Of course Nokia is masking the failure behind the launch of the Ovi Store, but I think we all know what really happened: the App Store. The iPhone tapped into Nokia’s arteries a while back and just isn’t stopping. The platform is much more attractive to developers and is probably making them a lot more money as well.

For the one to two this affects, you will still be able to get your N-Gage games until September 2010. The community site will shut down at the end of the year.


PS3 costs Sony $4.7 billion on the way to profitability

Sony HQ.Sony’s Q2 fiscal-year earnings report reads a bit like a good horror story. The most interesting for our purposes is that “networked products and services” division, which includes the Playstation brand. It also includes a whopping $654 million loss this quarter, which Sony attributes to declining PS2 sales and appreciation of the yen. The PS2 sold some 600,000 units less this year than last. Ouch.

Maybe worse, though, is that the numbers have given math nerds around the web enough info to figure that the PS3 has cost Sony roughly $4.7 billion over the course of its life. That’s a monstrous figure, particularly since this is Sony’s third-gen console. Microsoft lost about as much with the original Xbox, but the 360 hasn’t hurt Redmond nearly as badly.

There is some hope, though. As manufacturing costs continue to plummet and sales rise with the PS3 Slim, Sony thinks the brand will become profitable as early as next year. That would be a hell of a turnaround, and frankly one I doubt we’ll see, but I’m willing to hope a little for Sony’s sake.


Nintendo confirms big-screen DSi LL/XL

Nintendo DSi LL/XLAt a press event in Tokyo today, Nintendo confirmed rumors of a new Nintendo DS, called the DSi LL in Japan, DSi XL in Europe. The “LL/XL” in the name signifies the larger screen size, up to 4.25 inches, which is a whopping 93% increase in screen size (pixel count remains the same). It’s a strange update – the screen size increase is nice for games and internet browsing, but it bumps the device up to an awkward, less pocketable size.

The new model also comes in some odd colors. There’s the standard white, but you can also get Wine Red and Dark Brown. The DSi LL/XL will also come bundled with 3 DSiWare titles pre-installed – a couple brain games and the DSi Easy Dictionary. Again, it’s sort of a confusing mix of features. If anything, it seems like the new model is being marketed at an older crowd, not exactly the hottest market around.

The big DSi will cost approximately $220, though there’s no word on a North American release just yet.


Blizzard bends you over the customization fence…again

WoW race change.Blizzard’s unveiled its latest scheme to boost profits from World of Warcraft in the face of declining subscriptions: race change. You no longer have to traipse about Azeroth wishing you had made your warrior a Tauren. You can finally pay to get the best arena racials without buying yet another account.

The service costs $25, and only works for a change within your current faction. A faction change runs $30, though you obviously get a race change for free. Personally, this isn’t something I’d be spending money on, but it’s been a while since I’ve been in that unique state of WoW-drunk where almost anything seems reasonable.

Though I wish for the people still playing that Blizzard would lump some of these customization fees together, I also realize people are paying for this crap, so it’s hard to blame Blizzard. At least let me say, I feel for you, crackheads. It’s tough to pay for stuff like this when you’re calling off work to grind out those last few levels.


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