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Sony’s new handheld, which was codenamed NGP or PSP 2 (take your pick) was officially announced during Sony’s press conference at E3 2011. Named the PS Vita, Sony appear to have learned a lesson with it’s pricing with two different models available at the following prices; $249/$299 (US), 249/299 euros in Europe and for Japan, 24480/29480 Yen. The cheaper PS Vita model will include Wifi ability, while the more expensive one will have 3G functionality.

Press Release:

Introducing PlayStation®Vita

In March 2005, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system defined new standards in portable entertainment and provided game enthusiasts worldwide with a new way to experience games outside of their living room. The PSP system broke through traditional boundaries then and has gone on to sell more than 70 million units since its launch. In January, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) announced a new portable device for a new generation of gamers — the next generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP).

Today, SCE announced PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) as the official platform name for NGP. A Wi-Fi model will be available for 24,980 yen (including tax) in Japan, $249 MSRP in US and euro 249 in Europe, while a 3G/Wi-Fi model will be available for 29,980 yen (including tax) in Japan, $299 MSRP in US and euro 299 in Europe. PS Vita will launch in the global market starting at the end of 2011.

Derived from the Latin word “Vita,” which means “Life,” this next generation portable entertainment system enables a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context.

The PS Vita system incorporates a beautiful 5-inch multi-touch organic light emitting diode (OLED) as the front display and a unique multi-touch pad on the rear. Together with the front touch screen and the rear touch pad, the PS Vita system offers new game play allowing users to interact directly with games in three dimension-like motion, through “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” finger motions. Also the PS Vita system features two analog sticks which enable a wider range of game genres to be brought into the portable experience.

In addition to the PS Vita system pricing, SCEA also revealed today that AT&T, which powers the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, will be the exclusive service provider in the United States for the PS Vita system. The speed and coverage of AT&T’s mobile broadband network will ensure that PS Vita system users will remain connected to content and each other on the go.

On the content front, SCEA showcased a robust collection of software titles developed exclusively for the PS Vita system. Featured titles including UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss™, LittleBigPlanet™ and Ruin (working title) utilize the platform’s groundbreaking technology to make unprecedented immersive, interactive and social game play available on-the-go. UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss takes full advantage of PS Vita’s stunning OLED screen to deliver vibrant cinematic visuals and combines input from the front-touch screen and dual-analog sticks to create the most intuitive 3rd person shooter experience available on a portable system. Also making use of PS Vita’s unique feature set, LittleBigPlanet allows users to Play, Create and Share like never before with the system’s front touch screen and rear touch pad as well as its front and rear cameras. Finally, Ruin brings the ultimate social action RPG experience and also delivers interoperable compatibility for players to save their game on the PS Vita system and continue on at home using the PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system. Adding to this selection of innovative games, SCEA unveiled a collection of PS Vita titles that will be available including wipEout®, ModNation™ Racers, Reality Fighter (working title), Super Stardust™ Delta, Sound Shapes, Hot Shots Golf®, Hustle Kings™ and more.

Additionally, conference attendees received a look at Capcom’s STREET FIGHTER® x TEKKEN® for the PS Vita system which will feature Cole MacGrath as a playable character from the popular PS3 franchise, inFAMOUS™.

PS Vita

The Nintendo 3DS retails for $249 in the US, signalling Sony’s intent to compete on the pricing scale.