/ 7 June 2011

PlayStation Vita gives Sony a new face

Sony on Monday introduced its new generation PlayStation Vita gaming handset and blockbuster 3D console titles as it sought to shake off the stigma of a cyberattacks on its system.

The Japanese entertainment giant turned the Los Angeles sports arena into a music and video game Mecca starring exciting new game play and hardware on the eve of the opening of a premier Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

“This is not the first time I’ve come onto the stage at E3 with an elephant in the room,” Sony Computer Entertainment of America chief executive Jack Tretton told the 6 000 people packed into the arena.

He apologised to people who use the PlayStation Network (PSN) to connect to games, films, and music online through PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game consoles.

PSN was shut down after hackers broke in and looted user data. Sony brought the system back online gradually the week before E3 after hardening its defences.

Tretton thanked PS3 fans for their loyalty, saying the level of online traffic at PSN was already more than 90% of what it was before the disruption and that console sales jumped last week.

Sony executives got apologies out of the way quickly and focused on a line-up of video games packed with vivid 3D titles such as the instalment of in the beloved Drake’s Fortune: Uncharted franchise to be released in November.

“Our commitment to 3D is unwavering,” Tretton said, noting that Sony would soon boast more than 100 titles in the format including a collector edition of God of War titles.

In a bid to make 3D ore ubiquitous, Sony will release a 24-inch display for the format bundled with special glasses, an HDMI cable, and a copy of the coming Resistance 3 videogame at a package price of $500.

The components will also be sold separately.

Tretton boasted that the accompanying 3D glasses would accomplish the unprecedented feat of letting two people play a game together on a shared display but each see only their setting without any “split-screen”.

Sony’s Kazuo Hirai introduced the PlayStation Vita successor to the PlayStation Portable handheld device.

The word vita was chosen because it is Latin for “life”, Hirai said, explaining the gadgets are designed to “blur the line” between game life and real life with augmented reality and other features.

A PS Vita model that connects to the internet only using Wi-Fi will be priced at $249 while a version of the gadget featuring 3G connectivity to telecom data services will be priced at $299.

PS Vita is to launch in Japan, Europe and the United States by the end of the year. Telecom giant AT&T will be the exclusive carrier in the United States, Hirai said, eliciting groans from the audience. — AFP