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Sony unveils big line-up for PlayStation Vita in the U.S.

Sony has lined up a big slate of games for its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device, which debuts on Feb. 22 in North America and Europe.

The company said the software support for the new device is the biggest in history for a new gaming platform from Sony. The titles are all built from the ground up to to take advantage of features such as the front and back touchscreens, two analog joysticks and a 5-inch screen.

The game system is Sony’s big thrust to grab market share in the handheld market away from the Nintendo 3DS as well as smartphones and tablets.

The Vita has the full support of the game industry, including Sony’s internal studios and third-party companies. Altogether, the system will launch with 25 titles on its first day. The first-party titles from Sony will include Escape Plan, Hot Shots Golf, World Invitational, Little Deviants, ModNation Racers: Road Trip, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and wipEout 2048.

Third-party launch titles include EA Sports’ FIFA Soccer (Electronic Arts), Lumines Electronic Symphony (Ubisoft), Touch My Katamari (Namco Bandai Games America), Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 (Capcom Entertainment, Inc.) and Virtua Tennis4: World Tour Edition (Sega of America). A number of other titles will be available on the PlayStation Network.

The games will cost $10 to $50. The handheld itself will cost $249 with Wi-Fi only access and $299 with 3G.

“PlayStation Vita is the ultimate portable gaming device, offering all of the interface, controls and social connectivity that gamers have been dreaming about to deliver unsurpassed entertainment and completely new ways to play,” said Jack Tretton, president and chief executive, Sony Computer Entertainment America. “PS Vita features the most extensive launch lineup in PlayStation’s history, and there are more than 100 games in development, ensuring that PS Vita gamers will always have a steady stream of amazing titles at their fingertips.”

I’ve played around with the Vita numerous times and it has an outstanding organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touchscreen and a console-like gaming experience. Games such as the Uncharted title are fast and vibrant. The Vita interacts with the PlayStation 3 and offers a good wireless multiplayer experience. The system will have non-game features such as Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Skype and Twitter.

Sony launched the system in Japan over the weekend and got a good turnout, but it also had numerous reports of technical problems. It’s going to have to do a lot better as rival systems such as the iPhone are selling in the tens of millions per quarter.

Consumers who pre-order the PS Vita First Edition Bundle will be able to pick up devices as early as Feb. 15, 2012. Like the Nintendo 3DS, the Vita will have an augmented reality experience where users can point the camera at AR Play cards to download a handful of augmented reality mini games via the PlayStation Network.

Titles available near the launch date include Sony’s Gravity Rush, MLB 12 The Show, Reality Fighters, and Unit 13. Third-part launch window games include Lego Harry Potter Years 5-7 from Warner Bros., Disgaea 3 Absence of Detention from NIS America, Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus from Tecmo Koei, Ridge Racer from Namco Bandai Games America, Silent Hill Book of Memories from Konami, and Supremacy MMA Unrestricted from 505 Games.

Peripherals include a Starter Kit at $40 with a 4 gigabyte memory card, pocket pouch, protective film, card case, head phones and a cleaning cloth. Memory cards range from 4GB at $20 to 32GB at $100.


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