Sony is accelerating its drive in mobile video gaming with a gizmo geared towards die hard gamers searching for something with a bit more impact than "Angry Birds," ''Words With Friends" and other mobile phone spare-time activities. The PlayStation Vita, currently offered in Japan, launches in the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday 22nd of February, 2012. The Wi-Fi version will sell at $250, while the other version that can gain access to 3G mobile networks will retail for $300 plus regular monthly service fees from AT&T.
Sony Corp. is advertising the system with a $50 million promotion blitz.
The Vita release is a significant one for Sony, though it probably won't be as major as the introduction of a new gaming system. Sony has not declared the next PlayStation, but Nintendo Co. is preparing to come out with its Wii U later this year.
As a system, the Vita is smooth, streamlined and impressive, combining the console-like controls that players are used to with touch screens prevalent in portable gadgets. Its dual analog sticks are a first for a handheld device and a must-have for shooter games played from a first-person perspective. Not only does the Vita's primary screen react to touch, but it also has a touch screen in the back that provides gamers with an completely new way of managing game play.
The Vita has a 5-inch (12-centimeter) display screen, front- and rear-facing cameras and a quad-core processor, which is used in the speediest tablet pcs. The Vita also links to the PS 3, so gamers for the first time can play the same game irrespective of whether they are working with a console or a portable system.
In the U.S., retailers were organizing midnight launch events, and the most devoted PlayStation enthusiasts were predicted to get in line in anticipation. Although it may not equate to iPhone scales, the Vita could become a hit with players who want to play shooters and other extreme, top of the class and high-end games.
Sony, in the mean time, has sold 75.5 million PlayStation Mobile devices, the first model of which retailed in 2005 in the U.S. and a year earlier in Japan. Sony's strategy is based on continuing to sell the mobile devices.