Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sony introduces PS Vita

Sony offered up new tech, new games, and a price point for its upcoming high-tech portable system that was as low as anyone had dared hope.

The handheld formerly known as the Sony NGP? It's now called the "Playstation Vita" (pronounced 'vee-tah') and is due out this holiday. In a decision that was widely applauded around the industry, it'll go on sale for $249.99 with WiFi only, or $299.99 for a 3G-capable model. That's a price that matches Nintendo's new 3DS, but with vastly superior hardware capabilities. It's an aggressive move, and given Sony's past history of high launch prices (the Playstation 3 debuted at $499 and $599) one that comes as a pleasant surprise to many observers.

Its tech specs are certainly impressive: the Vita sports a high-res OLED screen, Sixaxis motion sensing controls, two analog sticks, touch-sensitive areas on the front and back of the device, and, in what Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai called "my favorite feature," dual cameras. Social networking (via a new "Near" app) will be a big focus, and the Vita will beat the PlayStation 3 to become the first Sony platform to implement cross-game voice chat.

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