Sony Brings “World-Changing” PS Vita to US and Europe

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When Sony’s new handheld gaming system, PlayStation Vita, launched in Japan in December, it came with some unfortunate bugs that caused it to crash on occasion and lag a bit during some games.

Sony says it has updated the software and is feeling good enough about things that it launched the product Wednesday in the United States and Europe. What’s new and improved about PS Vita? To paraphrase Shakespeare, the game’s the thing.[more]

Innovative features include augmented reality games; a rear touchpanel that engages all ten fingers in gameplay; and the ability to download games from an online store that is very conveniently accessed from the game itself.

PS Vita, like every other electronics product coming out these days, is “connected” and integrates the user’s social network. The release notes that gamers will have the “ability to connect to friends via Facebook, Foursquare, Skype and Twitter.”

The price: For $299 in the U.S., consumers can pick up the 3G and Wi-Fi-capable Vita while $249 buys a Wi-Fi-only version. (AT&T is the exclusive Wi-Fi carrier in the US; more details are in the press release.)

Sony boldly states that the handheld is “set to transform the gaming world.” New Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Andrew House talked up the release to the Wall Street Journal:

One of the things we’ve done differently than the competition with PlayStation Vita, is to open our dialog to a broad range of publishers and developers much earlier in the development cycle. Net benefit of that: We had 24 games — really good games — ready on the day of the Japanese launch, which we’d never seen in the history of our platforms and arguably not on other platforms either. I think the content portfolio is possibly even stronger for a European and North American audience than it was for the Japanese launch.

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