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Sony Sets Name, Pricing For New Handheld PlayStation

LOS ANGELES -(Dow Jones)- Sony Corp. (SNE) announced the name and price points for its new handheld video game console on Monday night, with the device set to hit the market in late 2011. The Japanese electronics giant also apologized for the outage of its PlayStation Network, or PSN, that stretched from late April through the bulk of May. The outage was caused by an attack by hackers that resulted in the compromise of personal data of subscribers, though Sony maintains that it has no evidence that credit card information was taken. "This is not the first time that I have come to an E3 press briefing with an elephant in the room," said Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, at the company's event in Los Angeles on the eve of the E3 trade conference. Tretton began the event by apologizing to the company's publishing partners, retail supporters and customers. "We apologize for any anxiety we have caused you." He also said activity on the PSN has returned to about 90% of its levels prior to the attack. In terms of impact to PlayStation sales, Tretton said that sales of the console from last week were 27% higher than the same period last year, but gave no additional data. The company also gave further details of its new handheld, which has previously been known under the code-name NGP, for Next Generation Portable. The official name for the device is PlayStation Vita, which will launch before the end of 2011 in the U.S. While no specific date was given, the company said in a statement Monday that it will price at $249 for a WiFi-only version and $299 for a 3G/WiFi version. The term Vita means "life," the company said. Several popular game franchises were demonstrated for the Vita on Monday night, including Sony exclusive properties such as the "Uncharted" adventure series and "Mod Nation Racers." Game publisher Capcom is also preparing a version of its popular "Street Fighter" franchise for the device. For the PlayStation 3, Sony showcased up-coming releases such as "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception," "Resistance 3" and "Bioshock Infinite" from Take-Two Interactive Software. (TTWO). The company also announced plans to sell a PlayStation-branded high-definition, 3D display and 3D glasses. The TV will bundle with a pair of glasses and a copy of "Resistance 3" for $499 while the glasses will cost $69 separately.

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