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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Sony PlayStation Vita free to play at select GameStop stores

More than 3,000 GameStop stores across the United States are now offering playable demo units of the Sony PlayStation Vita, which will be released in the U.S. later this month.

Potential Sony PS Vita buyers can now try one out at their local GameStop store.
Potential Sony PS Vita buyers can now try one out at their local GameStop store. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Gamers eager for a taste of Sony's upcoming PlayStation Vita console may be able to try out a playable demo unit at their local GameStop store.

The Vita is available at more than 3,300 GameStop stores across the U.S. to offer potential buyers their first hands-on experience. Entering your ZIP code at GameStop's Vita Web page displays a list of your closest stores, but it looks like you'll need to call them to see which ones have a playable unit on hand.

The units will offer eight different games to try out--Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Little Deviants, Hot shots Golf, FIFA Soccer, Modnation Racers, Virtua Tennis 4, Escape Plan, and Wipeout 2048.

The Vita, which made its debut in Japan in December, is traveling to North America, Europe, and other parts of the world on February 22. But buyers who want to secure the console ahead of time can preorder one from GameStop starting February 15. Preorders can be shipped or picked up at the closest store on February 22.

GameStop is selling the Vita in three different flavors: a Wi-Fi only version for $249, a 3G/Wi-Fi version for $299, and a bundled version with a free game, case, and other goodies for $349 that will be available on February 15.

As further bait, GameStop will offer Vita buyers an extra $25 off if they trade in a Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, or Sony PSP system.

Trying to compete with its rival portables, the Vita includes a 5-inch OLED multi-touch screen, front and rear touch pads, dual analog joysticks, dual cameras, and a six-axis motion sensing system.