Sony has come out with next-generation portable console that analysts say is priced less than expected, given that company facing growing competition from smartphones and tablets.
Announcing this at a news conference at the E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, Sony revealed that the device, earlier known as NGP, would be called the PS Vita. The basic version would carry a price tag of $250 in the US, €250 in Europe and Y25,000 in Japan when it hits the market later this year.
Analysts had reservations about whether console makers could sell portable gaming machines in the tens of millions of units any more, given that smartphones and tablets with touch screens, fast processors and motion sensors are proving equally adept at rendering games.
The Japanese electronics giant has 70 million units of its first portable device – the PSP – since it was introduced into the market for $250 in 2004.
According to analysts, a price in the $300-$400 range, though justifiable given the higher specifications, could have set back initial sales of the PS Vita. The $250 pricing matches that of Nintendo's latest handheld, the 3DS, giving it mass-market appeal.
The Vita comes with a 5-inch touchscreen that uses organic light-emitting diodes for a vivid picture. It has an innovative touchpad at the rear in addition to the analogue sticks and buttons familiar to gamers on regular controllers, plus it has dual cameras for augmented-reality gaming.