Sony’s latest PlayStation launch in Dec

Sony’s latest PlayStation launch in Dec

Tokyo: Sony Corp will launch its new PlayStation (PS) Vita handheld games device on 17 December in Japan, kicking off a global rollout, and insisted it will not reduce the price in the face of discounting by rival Nintendo .

Sony has been criticised for setting the PS Vita’s price too high for the mass market but some analysts say the gadget will likely appeal chiefly to hardcore gamers, who are generally willing to spend more.

Hiroshi Kawano, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, presented the domestic launch plans to reporters a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show.

The PS Vita, first unveiled in Tokyo in January, is expected to go on sale in the United States (US) and Europe in early 2012, but exact dates have yet to be revealed.

Sony said it will launch 26 software titles along with the PS Vita on 17 December and Japan’s biggest mobile carrier, NTT Docomo , will provide prepaid 3G plans for PS Vita users.

Rival Nintendo slashed prices for its own portable games device by up to 40% to ¥15,000 ($195) last month after sales sagged, and unveiled a raft of new software on Tuesday in a bid to revive interest.

But investors say smartphones and tablets have taken a big bite out of demand for dedicated portable games devices by providing cheaper software and multiple functions.

Sony said in August it saw no need to reduce the price of the PS Vita from the announced figure of ¥24,980 ($325) for a Wi-fi only model and ¥29,980 ($390) for a 3G plus Wi-fi version.

But the company last month cut the price of its PS 3 gaming console by one-fifth to regain lost ground against rival Microsoft, which makes the Xbox.