Tuesday during the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, SCEA President and CEO Jack Tretton said that the PlayStation Vita handheld gaming unit will finally arrive in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe on February 22, 2012. The vanila Wi-Fi version will cost a hefty $249 USD whereas the Wi-Fi/3G combo model will be a dollar shy of a full $300 USD.
"Our first-party studios and army of publishing partners have been extremely hard at work to ensure that PS Vita launches with a vast library of titles that deliver unique gameplay experiences that go beyond any handheld or mobile device on the market," Tretton said Tuesday in a blog. "We have more than 100 games currently in development globally that span many different genres, including Sound Shapes, Resistance: Burning Skies, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Capcom’s Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed, EA Sports’ FIFA, Activision’s Call of Duty, and numerous others that you’ll hear about in the months ahead."
As previously reported, the device will sport a 4-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU coupled with an SGX543MP4+ GPU. It will also have a 5-inch capacitive OLED multi-touch screen (960 x 544) and a multi-touch pad mounted on the back. Other features will include 512 MB of RAM, 128 MB of VRAM, a front-facing camera, a rear-facing camera, built-in GPS, a six-axis motion sensing system and more.
"With its vibrant 5-inch OLED screen, dual analog sticks, dual cameras, and front and rear touch panel, PS Vita will deliver rich, immersive games with stunning graphics, which simply can’t be found anywhere else," Tretton said. "Now you’ll be able to play shooters and action titles on-the-go with controls that are familiar, and you won’t have to block out the gorgeous screen to interact with the games."
Back in September, Sony said that as many as 500 to 600 PlayStation Portable games will be available to purchase and download to the device via the PlayStation Network. The company is also reportedly working on a solution for current customers to bring their UMD-based games to the new portable console (which Sony failed to do for the doomed PSPgo) using some kind of "special download plan." Sony said it will reveal more information on this at a later date although it's likely to happen in December when the console lands in Japan.
In addition to serving as a portable gaming console, the PS Vita will also support apps for Facebook, foursquare, Skype and Twitter. The applications will be downloadable to PS Vita directly from the PlayStation Store at no charge. Users will be able to activate the application just by selecting the icon which will appear on the PS Vita home screen.
"With PS Vita, you can enjoy the best handheld gaming experience available and stay connected to the people and interests you care about," Tretton said. "It’s never been a better time to be a part of PlayStation Nation and I can’t wait for you to experience this revolutionary handheld system. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as we near the February 22, 2012 launch!"
In related news, Irrational Games head Ken Levine reports that Bioshock Vita is still in its "paper stage" because the studio is still heavily wrapped up in Bioshock: Infinite. Levine said that the Vita game may be outsourced if push comes to shove, but finding the right studio will be difficult if that happens.
"To keep the quality level, I wish I could say it was easy, it just tends to be more time consuming," he said. "It's just hard to find the right partners or the right people to hire. I'd rather do something that's an experiment and that's a little different and is unique for the franchise."