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PlayStation Vita to hit U.S., Europe in 2012, report says

Bloomberg says Sony Computer Entertainment chief Kazuo Hirai made the release official while talking to reporters today.

The PlayStation Vita might not hit the States until next year, a report claims.
The PlayStation Vita might not hit the States until next year, according to Bloomberg.

The PlayStation Vita might not be hitting U.S. or European store shelves until next year, Bloomberg is reporting.

According to the report, Sony Computer Entertainment chief Kazuo Hirai, who was speaking to reporters in Japan today, said that the company's next portable will launch in Japan before the end of the year. He reportedly said that the device will launch in the U.S. and Europe at some point in early 2012.

Sony's PlayStation Vita is arguably one of the most anticipated industry launches. The device is the successor to Sony's PSP, and comes with a 5-inch OLED touch screen. The portable will offer improved graphics over the PSP, and include touchpads on the front and back to enhance gameplay. Built-in cameras will allow the device to support augmented reality. Earlier this year, Sony said that the Wi-Fi-only version of the portable will launch in the States for $249. The 3G-capable option will cost $299.

If Sony is, in fact, waiting to launch the Vita next year in the U.S., it will surprise many who believed the device would be made available much sooner. Earlier this week, gaming publication IGN was sent a Blockbuster U.K. flier by a reader that listed the Vita's launch date as October 28. Sony didn't confirm that launch date, but in a statement to CNET, the company did say that it would "begin a phased rollout from the end of the year 2011."

That seemed to fall in line with what Sony has been saying all along. At E3 earlier this year, the company said that the Vita would be available for the critical holiday-shopping season. But if Bloomberg's report is correct, it appears that only Japanese customers will be able to get their hands on the portable at that time.

Related stories:
• PlayStation Vita launching October 28?
• Nintendo slashes 3DS price to $169.99
• Nintendo posts loss as revenue slides

Whenever the Vita enters the market, it will be facing off with Nintendo's 3DS portable. That device, which allows users to play games in 3D without special glasses, hasn't been selling all that well. Last week, Nintendo reported that during its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, it sold just 710,000 3DS units worldwide. In the U.S., the company sold 110,000 3DS units during the period.

To help jump-start sales, Nintendo said last week that it would drop the price of the 3DS from $249.99 to $169.99 starting on August 12. Although that lower price might put some pressure on the Vita when it launches, it appears Sony isn't too worried. According to Bloomberg, Hirai said today that his company won't follow Nintendo and drop the price of Vita prior to its launch.

Sony did not immediately respond to request for confirmation of Bloomberg's report.