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PlayStation Vita to hit U.S. shelves in February 2012

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After remaining eerily quiet for months on when gamers outside of Japan would get their hands on the PlayStation Vita, Sony has finally come clean.

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PS Vita (Sony)

The next-generation handheld gaming system will go on sale in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Latin America on Feb. 22 of next year, just over two months after it goes on sale in Sony's home country.

Sony's betting big on the system and seems to have learned some lessons from the troubled launch of Nintendo's 3DS. The Vita will have an array of titles from gaming's biggest franchises backing it up in the launch window, including Uncharted, Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. Sony stopped short of announcing which titles would launch concurrently with the Vita.

When it comes to pricing, though, Sony's standing firm. Nintendo was forced to slash 3DS prices by $70 just four months after launching the system at $250, due to weak demand. The Vita's Wi-Fi model will cost $250, while the 3G-enabled/Wi-Fi model will run $300.

Nintendo's weak software lineup was part of the reason for poor sales, but many believe consumers opted instead to spend their money on multi-function systems like the iPod

Touch, which also offer significantly cheaper games. If that holds true, it could similarly impact Vita sales, but Sony says it's not looking to Nintendo for any guidance when it comes to pricing.

"We packed so much into the device and made it very affordable," said Sony Corp. Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai. "There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower their price."

Granted, the Vita has a lot more tech bells and whistles than the 3DS. The system will feature a 5-inch OLED touch-screen display (OLED is a substantially brighter and clearer display panel than LCD or LED) as well as a rear touch panel, WiFi and 3G wireless connectivity, motion sensors, rear and front-facing cameras and dual analog sticks.

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