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Jetsetter: PS Vita price drops in France, Nintendo DS piracy lands Japanese man in jail, and Silicon Knights loses its war with Epic

Don’t worry about declaring no fruits and vegetables up in here! Leave your passport at home! This is Jetsetter, your weekly dose of worldly video game delights. We look beyond the confines of the United States to the other 195 countries on Earth to see what’s going on in the wider world of video games.

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* PlayStation Vita sees its first price drop in France

With the Vita struggling, many games industry commentators have been calling Sony to drop the handheld’s price. It is! Sort of! And only in France. MCV reported on Wednesday that between Jun. 1 and Jul. 15, Sony will drop the price of the PS Vita by €50, or around $61. The regular Vita price is €250, around $308. It’s not a true price drop though. Sony is simply offering a €50 rebate to new Vita buyers. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe vice president Philippe Cardon said, “With this great offer we want to make [Vita] more accessible to the greatest number throughout the approaching summer vacation.” Well then why is France only getting the joy? France always gets the best deals. Oh wait, no it doesn’t: Resistance: Burning Skies costs just $36 on the U.S. PSN store, but €45 ($56) in the European Union store. Some savings, SCEE.

* Japanese man arrested for selling R4 cartridge

The R4 cartridge was arguably the most popular peripheral ever released for a Nintendo handheld, an upgradeable, rewritable storage device that used custom firmware and an SD card for storage to run homebrew and pirated software on the Nintendo DS. While not quite as widely used as they were just 4 years ago, the R4 was credited as one of the chief reasons third-party publishers couldn’t make a buck on the DS. Aiding in the device’s ubiquity was its ready availability at retailers, especially in Japan. They’ve been outlawed in the U.K. and Japan for years, but those selling them have never faced criminal charges until today. Eurogamer reported on Thursday Japanese police arrested a man for selling the devices. Now how am I going to play Sega Master System games on my DS Lite?

 

* Silicon Knights loses to Epic

Following up last week’s report, Ontario-based Silicon Knights lost its 5-year battle against Epic Games on Wednesday. The Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem and Too Human studio sued Epic in 2007 claiming that the Gears of War studio intentionally provided it with an incomplete version of Unreal Engine 3, withholding updated technology from licensees. The case finally went to trial in North Carolina this month and the jury found in favor of Epic on all all counts. Epic vice president Mark Rein spread the news via Twitter. Doubly bad for Silicon Knights though is that the jury found in favor of Epic’s counter suits as well, with the Canadian studio having to pay $4.45 million in damages to Unreal makers and likely having to cover legal fees as well.

Silicon Knights was forced to layoff more than half its staff in November 2011. With these new costs, it’s difficult to imagine the studio will stay open much longer.

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