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World of Warcraft: You never know what dangers lurk around the corner.

To Catch A Paladin
Authorities in Pitt County, North Carolina have arrested Tamara Broome, a 31-year old Australian woman who came to the US attempting to collect her online boyfriend, 17, and bring him back with her to Australia. 18 is the legal age of consent in North Carolina.

The two had met last year on World of Warcraft and had planned to marry.

After stopping him from boarding a plane to Australia earlier in the year, the boy’s parents supposedly “invited” Broome, a university student, to North Carolina so they could “sort it all out.” Instead of meeting the boy and his parents, Broome was instead greeted by three local detectives becoming, er, bound on pick-up (Warcraft humor!).

Broome is being held on $2.4 million bail.

Full Story

Zelda for the DS Dated
If you are like most red-blooded Americans…or Japanese…or French…or one of those amorous Italians, you love the Nintendo DS (the thing has sold more units than the Bible, so we’ll assume you have one). And come October 1, you will certainly need it, as Nintendo prepares to release The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the first DS version of the beloved, two-decade old series.

“Since 1987 TheLegend of Zelda franchise has sold more than 52 million units worldwide,” says George Harrison, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. “The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass stays true to the richness of the console Zelda franchise while introducing new controls that allow veterans and first-time gamers to become fully immersed in the adventure.”

The game will feature WiFi play, and you will be able to control the entire game using the touch-screen and stylus. Want to stab at a gnarly goblin? Just make a slashing motion on the screen. Want to throw your boomerang in a particular pattern? Just draw its path on the screen and let it fly!

Having just given myself the sorest arm in recent memory during a marathon Wii Tennis session, the news of Zelda DS coming in a few short months has Nintendo continuing to bring a smile to my face.
GTA 4: Look out, Xbox. Here it comes.

Lack of Big Exclusives Hurting Sony?
Back in the early 2000s, The PlayStation 2 ruled the market, but perhaps for one simple reason–license exclusivity. Many of the games that were key to the system’s sustained success were ones that could only be found on Sony’s system.

Grand Theft Auto. Devil May Cry. Metal Gear. Had these games first shown up on the GameCube or Xbox, things may have turned out very differently for all these companies, but Sony had the shrewd business sense to continue holding onto these exclusive deals for several years…until recently.

Pull the Wayback Machine back into 2007 and we see that the game, as they say, done changed.

Over the last year it’s been revealed that titles once considered shoo-ins for PlayStation 3 exclusivity–either because they were initially announced as exclusives or their prior history would have indicated as such–are ALSO appearing on the Xbox 360 or ONLY appearing on the Xbox 360.

Wired’s Chris Kohler has listed a few of the big guns Sony dropped the ball on, like Grand Theft Auto IV, for which former Sony Computer Entertainment president Ken Kutaragi’s “radio silence” left Sony’s American execs without the authority to make exclusive deals, and Assassin’s Creed, which was supposed to be a PS3 exclusive. It became known, shortly after E3 2006, that the latter would ship on both Playstation and Xbox.

Kohler goes on to mention other titles, like Devil May Cry 4, Virtua Fighter 5and Fatal Inertia, and pondering the future of the still-PS3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy XIII.

Oddly, not only is Sony losing these exclusives left and right, but the company doesn’t seem to care, as illustrated in a recent PlayStation Magazine interview with Sony Computer Entertainment America president, Jack Tretton:

“We have a very different approach to exclusives than some of our competitors. We don’t buy exclusivity. We don’t fund development. We don’t, for lack of a better term, bribe somebody to only do a game on our platform. We earn it…”

OK, so your new system isn’t selling THAT well (The Wii is outselling the PS3 6 to 1 in Japan alone!), you are losing support from everyone you ever made gobs of money from, and then you’re going to put your nose up in the air and act like you don’t need ‘em? Come on, bro! Who are you trying to fool here? Me? Or you?

Wired‘s Full Story

DS Brain Game Pulled In UK
While most “brain training” games seem innocuous (or ignorable) enough, a woman in the UK was recently so offended by Ubisoft’s Mind Quiz, for the Nintendo DS, that she managed to get it pulled from shelves in Britain after it called her a name during a play session in which she performed poorly.

What was the name? While there is no official word, many bloggers and message boarders who claim to have played the troublesome title say that the word in question is “spaz.”

While meaningless to most, the Belfast woman says that she was deeply troubled by the game’s name calling as both her father and deceased son suffered from cerebral palsy.

“Retard”, “gay,” or “bearded-lady” would have also been accepted as poor word choices.

Full Story

PlayStation 3 Price Drop Imminent?
Earlier this week, an anonymous tipster began spreading word (and the scan of an apparent upcoming advertisement) about a $100 price-cut coming to the PlayStation 3, making it $499 on July 15 at Circuit City locations around the country–the week after E3.

Then yesterday, gaming news site, GameDaily, reportedly confirmed with a “retail manager at one of the world’s largest chains” that not only was this price drop the case for ALL retailers, not just Circuit City, but also that it would happen on July 12, the day after E3 begins. Moles from Best Buy and Target further substantiated the rumor with Kotaku.com as recently as this afternoon.

However, Sony President Ryoji Chubachi, in an interview late yesterday, said that the company had no such plans whatsoever! Eh?

From Bloomberg: “We have no immediate plans as of now” for price cuts, Chubachi said in an interview in Tokyo. Any change in the console’s price “is a matter” for Sony’s game unit, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., he said.

So either he is trying to be funny, trying to throw his rivals off, or has no idea what the hell is going on within his own company. All of which are entirely possible. But our money is on a cheaper PS3 next week!