Sony’s latest handheld game device, the PlayStation Vita, will be available in the U.S. on February 22 next year.The Vita features typical handheld game console controls like two analogue sticks and buttons. But it also has a touchscreen and the bag of the device also serves as a touch interface.
It’s intentionally similar to a smartphone because smartphone games have become incredibly popular. For example, the smartphone game Angry Birds now has more than 30 million monthly active users, Rovio’s Andrew Stalbow said today.
“The advent of smartphone gaming is quite additive to what we’re trying to accomplish,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton said. “If you have a rudimentary interest in gaming, we think we can migrate you up that scale.”
The Vita still packs a punch and can run games that are nearly as good looking as games on modern home video game consoles. Sony demoed a version of Uncharted, one of the PlayStation 3’s most popular franchises, that looks almost as good as the company’s main home gaming console.
The Vita is coming out in Japan in December, but it won’t be ready for the holiday season in the U.S. The company had not given a release date for a U.S. version of the device until today. The Wi-Fi-only model version of the device will cost $249, while a 3G-enabled version of the PlayStation Vita will sell for $299.