Sony finally put together all the missing pieces about their new handheld, now officially called Playstation Vita. Sony brought the official name, price, release window, and who the carrier would be for the 3G version of the device formerly known as NGP.
Let’s start with the cold, hard facts. Vita will retail at $249.99 for the WiFi only version and $299.99 for the version with 3G. That price point puts the WiFi only version at exactly the same price as the Nintendo 3DS with arguably a bucket load more features and a much more impressive screen.
If you want to use 3G on the device you’re going to need a contract, with AT&T. Interestingly enough, Sony still hasn’t addressed whether or not AT&T will sell the device themselves or if they will only provide the 3G service for it to use. The final specs on the screen itself peg it as a 5 inch OLED with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 960 x 544.
Along with pricing and carrier info, there’s also a laundry list of things the handheld won’t do. First, the Vita will not operate as a phone. The device will also not be able to connect to Bluetooth mice or keyboards, or have a PlayStation 3 controller connected to it. You also won’t get Stereoscopic 3D because Sony “decided not to install it.” A Sony Vita FAQ also claims you cannot connect the device to a TV and the battery is non removable.
So how will you get games for the device? Games, including currently available ones, will be available for the Vita through the PlayStation store. The other option is a flash media based memory option, likely very similar to what Nintendo uses for their DS games. The media will allow users to save games directly to it instead of having to use built in storage for game saves.
The biggest piece of information missing from the press event and FAQ is exactly when you can get your hands on this device. All Sony is saying is that there will be a “phased rollout” across their various regional markets. That phased rollout will begin at the end of 2011 but Sony hasn’t stated when the end date will be. The best bet is that Japan will see the unit before year end and North America will see it by the end of Q1 2012.