LOS ANGELES--The headline news to come out of Sony's E3 2011 press conference today was confirmation of the NGP's official name: PlayStation Vita. Following the device's announcement, Sony offered additional details on price and stock-keeping unit (SKU) configurations. Sony also confirmed that the Vita will "successively launch in [the] global market starting [at] the end of 2011."
The Vita will come in two different retail configurations: a high-speed 3G model and a Wi-Fi-only model. The top-end 3G model, which boasts a mobile broadband connection, will cost $299 (¥29,980, €299). The Wi-Fi model will cost $249 (¥24,980, €249).
Sony also announced that AT&T will be the exclusive service provider in the US for the Vita. Customers who buy into AT&T's service plan for the Vita will also have free access to more than 24,000 Wi-Fi hot spots nationwide. Sony said that additional details regarding AT&T data plans and pricing will be announced at a later date.
When it ships, Vita will come preinstalled with a couple of different programs. "Near" will let Vita owners see what other users are or have been playing, as well as let them share information between handhelds. The program also enables location-based gaming features, such as "gifting," which lets Vita owners give away virtual goods.
The "Party" application will also come preloaded on new Vitas, offering owners the ability to engage in voice or text chat, both in, out, and between games. Vita will also include a "Welcome Park," which is designed to walk users through the system's features.