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E3 2011: PlayStation Vita Makes The Scene

PS VitaSony's next generation portable system has a name, a price, and an identity all its own now that today's Sony media briefing is out of the way.  Here comes the PlayStation Vita, the successor to the PlayStation Portable that sports a nifty touchscreen, touch panel, built-in wi-fi, and — if you spring for the deluxe model — 3G for on-the-go connectivity.  $249.99 will snag you a wi-fi unit, while it's $299.99 for the 3G model (which uses AT&T as a provider).  Here's more information from the PlayStation Blog:

We know you’ve been closely following all of the news since we announced the product in January. With mobile connectivity playing a huge role in PS Vita’s interactive experience, we know many of you have been wondering what carrier will be helping us bring you closer to other users and closer to your gaming experiences on the go. Today, we proudly announced a partnership with AT&T, which powers the nation’s fastest mobile broadband network, who will serve as the exclusive service provider for PS Vita in the United States. By having both Wi-Fi and 3G/Wi-Fi models available, PS Vita will enable infinite possibilities for you to “encounter,” “connect,” “discover,” “share” and “play” with your friends wherever they are.

A variety of familiar PlayStation franchises are in the works for the Vita including Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers, Street Fighter X Tekken (which includes inFamous's Cole McGrath as a playable character), and much more.  Each Vita game uses the touch capabilities for unique tricks such as a track editor in ModNation Racers that allows one to design courses by using a finger as a pen or the combat abilities in Uncharted: Golden Abyss.  It sounds very impressive and the $250 price tag gives the Nintendo 3DS a run for its money.  The Vita will be on the E3 show floor this week, so I'm planning on getting my hands on one to check it out and see how it performs in person, but at first glance, this looks like another PlayStation product to watch.