If you had already penciled in "Sony PlayStation Vita" on your holiday wish list for this year and you don't live in Japan, then you're going to have to erase it and come up with something else, as the Associated Press reports that the successor to the PlayStation Portable will not be launching in North America, Europe, or anywhere else that isn't Japan this year.
Expectations had been high the machine would be ready worldwide for the year-end holiday shopping season. Sony earlier promised a "phased global rollout" starting late this year. Sony Corp. Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai said Thursday the PlayStation Vita will go on sale by the end of the year in Japan, and early next year in the U.S. and Europe. Hirai did not characterize the timing as a delay, but said Sony wants to be prepared with solid game software offerings timed with the hardware launches. He did not give specific dates, meaning that it was still unclear whether the gadget — a touch-interface and motion-sensitive handheld that outdoes Sony's PlayStation Portable — would be ready for Christmas even in Japan.
Now Nintendo is free to mop up the holiday sales period (assuming that the recent 3DS price cut hits the spending sweet spot). Competition aside, I'm alright with the delay. I really wasn't looking forward to having to spend another $250 this year to keep current with things, and between Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 I'll have enough to keep my portable gaming needs filled. I'm willing and happy to wait for Sony to launch the Vita abroad when the time is right and a library of compelling, enjoyable games are ready to go. Nobody wants a Sony version of the 3DS launch in which the biggest titles are yawners and groaners. Say, what do you suppose the Sony version of Nintendogs would be?