Sony unveils PlayStation Vita; Nintendo Wii U gets mixed reviews

Sony made E3 news by unveiling their new portable gaming platform, called the PlayStation Vita and code-named the NGP. As Hayley Tsukayama reported:Sony unveiled the PlayStation Vita, code-named the NGP, at the E3 conference Monday night.

The new handheld, which sports a 5-inch multitouch screen, a rear touch pad and two analog sticks, in addition to the normal PlayStation controls.

On Tuesday, Sony posted a few more details about the device in an FAQ on its Web site. Each answer Sony gave about the PS Vita stirs up more questions, but here is some information.

The PS Vita will cost $249 for the Wifi version and $299 for the 3G version. AT&T will be the Vita’s exclusive service provider in the United States. It’s not clear if it will be sold in AT&T stores, however.

We know that the Vita will have a staggered launch through the end of 2011. But Sony didn’t provide details about when or where the gadget will debut.

As for how gamers will be playing on the device, Sony said it will use a flash-based memory card for games, ditching the Universal Media Disc currently used by the PlayStation Portable, or PSP. Every game will also have a "LiveArea" built into it where users can communicate and share with other players using the same game.

It will also be able to download games to internal storage. The PS Vita will have an internal storage slot, so players can decide how much memory they want on their devices.

Microsoft announced their plans to bring live television to the Xbox 360 as well as another chapter in the popular ‘Halo’ series. As AP explained:Live television and another chapter of the "Halo" game are landing on Xbox 360. Microsoft Corp. announced its plan for the video game console on Monday at a news conference kicking off the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the industry’s annual convention.

The company said live TV would be offered by domestic and international broadcasters, but no other details were revealed.

Partnerships with international broadcasters currently bring live TV to Xbox 360 in the United Kingdom, Australia and France, but the service unveiled Monday would be the first such offering available on a gaming console in the United States.

Xbox 360 and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 already provide the ability to stream and download movies and shows.

Meanwhile, Microsoft hinted that "Halo 4" would be the "dawn of a new trilogy" for the blockbuster, intergalactic shoot-’em-up series. The previous game, "Halo: Reach," earned $200 million on its first day and sold 3.3 million copies in its first month on the market last year, according to Microsoft and industry tracker NPD Group.

After Nintendo’s announcement of its new Wii console, called the Wii U, many questioned their ability to market the new device that features a portable touchpad controller. As AP reported: Nintendo stock plunged Wednesday in Tokyo amid doubts about the consumer appeal of the Wii U, the much ballyhooed successor to its hit Wii video game console.

The demonstration of a prototype at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the gaming industry’s annual convention, in Los Angeles on Tuesday, appeared to leave investors disappointed and skeptical.

Nintendo Co. shares closed at 16,970 yen ($212.44), down more than 5 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended flat.

Shuji Hosoi, analyst at Daiwa Securities Co., said it was unclear how successfully the machine would compete against smartphones and tablet PCs, when device-based gaming was already having to vie against social networks.

It is hard to see how it was different enough to woo users of smartphones and tablet PCs back to gaming, he said.

"People are puzzled whether this will really sell."

Hosoi acknowledged the stock price may recover if Kyoto-based Nintendo could convince investors that the new machine was as fun as smartphones and other new devices.

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