Today's blessing of frugality contains the curse of a dwindling social life cloaked within it. Damn you, Nintendo!

News Blips:

Nintendo 3DSBrandishing its Master Sword with profiteering fervor, Nintendo slashes the price of the 3DS to $169.99. In a press release issued today, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime called the cost chop "a huge motivation" for those driven away by the steep $249.99 launch price. Kicking off on August 12, the revalued price point represents Nintendo's hope of expanding its install base before unleashing its bevy of big-name holiday titles such as Star Fox 64 3D and Super Mario 3D Land. Don't feel slighted if you busted your wallet for the full price: Log on to the 3DS eShop between now and August 12 for 20 free Virtual Console games — 10 NES and 10 GBA titles — along with free admission into Nintendo's Ambassador program. No word yet on a full list of the free booty, but classics like The Legend of Zelda and Mario vs. Donkey Kong were mentioned.

EA apparently tumbles into a temporal vortex and blames Valve once more over the disappearance of Dragon Age 2 from Steam. "At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services," EA Partners GM David DeMartini told IGN. "Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently, some of our games have been removed. We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam." DeMartini's comments echo a similar complaint EA thrust upon Valve after Crysis 2's not-so-graceful departure from Steam last month. Valve provided no comment, presumably because it's busy fortifying its offices with Portal sentries in preparation for the inevitable onslaught by EA hordelings.

An anonymous Ubisoft representative calls the company's controversial digital rights management system "a success." Speaking to PC Gamer, the rep noted Ubisoft saw "a clear reduction in piracy of titles which required a persistent online connection." The anti-piracy measure drew the ire of the gaming community after first appearing in 2010's The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom. Ubisoft recently confirmed that the upcoming Driver: San Francisco also contains the always-on nuisance.

THQ detonates its Red Faction franchise after lackluster sales of Red Faction: Armageddon. In a conference call with investors, THQ CEO Brian Farrell explained that "given that [Armageddon], now in two successive versions, has [only] found a niche, we do not intend to carry forward with that franchise in any meaningful way." THQ posted a net loss increase of $38.4 million for the first quarter of 2011 — an increase of $8.3 million from last quarter. [Destructoid]

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