The PlayStation Vita release date and specs have been revealed. Sony's highly-anticipated next-gen portable console will be hitting stores in North America, Latin America and Europe on Feb. 22, 2012 according to SCEA's CEO and President Jack Tretton at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco, California on Tuesday.

Sony had already said that the PlayStation Vita would launch Dec. 17 in Japan in time for the holidays. Hundreds of people lined up in Tokyo just to get in line for the presale. Lo and behold, the system sold out within a matter of minutes.

The PlayStation Vita represents a huge test for Sony and the handheld gaming market as smartphones and tablets pose an increasing threat. That threat was apparent in August when Sony's handheld gaming competitor, Nintendo, announced a major price drop from $249.99 to $169.99 for its 3DS because sales weren't as high as expected. And, now that smartphone games have become incredibly popular, the test for Vita to become a legitimate smartphone-esque gaming platform will begin upon its release.

The advent of smartphone gaming is quite additive to what we're trying to accomplish, Tretton said. If you have a rudimentary interest in gaming, we think we can migrate you up that scale.

The Vita will be priced at $249 for the Wi-Fi version and $299 for the Wi-Fi/3G version, Tretton said. It will be available with a data plan from AT&T in the United States and 29,980 yen ($390 USD) with a data plan from DoCoMo in Japan.

Upcoming titles for the Vita are numerous and graphics are expected to be killer. They include Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter x Tekken, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Modnation Racers, Super Monkey Ball Vita, and numerous remakes from the PlayStation 2 era, including the Metal Gear Solid Collection, Zone of the Enders 1 and 2, Final Fantasy X HD and Persona 4 the Golden. Sony has already demoed a version of Uncharted, one of the PlayStation 3's most popular franchises, that looks almost as good as the PlayStation 3's.

Sony unveiled the PlayStation Vita at this year's E3 gaming conference. Last month, the company said the Vita will include a number of downloadable social apps, including those for Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Skype.

According to Tretton, users will be able to take pictures and shoot video from within games like the Vita's version of Uncharted 3 and share them with friends, including posting them to YouTube. In addition, the built-in GPS capabilities may allow publishers to tack on a bit of downloadable content (DLC) by visiting a particular retailer or location in the real world.

Will you be in line for a Playstation Vita next year? Maybe after reading the specs below, you will:

Model: PCH-1000 series

CPU: ARM® CortexTM-A9 core (4 core)


Main memory: 512MB


Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative) Weight Approx 279g (3G/Wi-Fi model); Approx 260g (Wi-Fi model) Screen: 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED; Multi touch screen (capacitive type)

Rear touch pad Multi touch pad (capacitive type)

Cameras: Front camera, Rear cameraFrame rate : 120fps@320×240(QVGA), 60fps@640×480(VGA)

Resolution: Up to 640×480(VGA)

Sound: Built-in stereo speakers/Built-in microphone

Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic compass

Location: Built-in GPS (3G/Wi-Fi model only)Wi-Fi location service support

Mobile network connectivity: (3G/Wi-Fi model only)3G modem (data communication): HSDPA/HSUPA, GSM/GPRS/EDGEIEEE 802.11b/g/n (n = 1×1)(Wi-Fi) (Infrastructure mode/Ad-hoc mode)Bluetooth® 2.1+EDR ?A2DP/AVRCP/HSP?

Slots/Ports: PlayStation Vita card slot; Memory card slot; SIM card slot (3G/Wi-Fi model only); Multi-use port (for USB data communication, DC IN, Audio [Stereo Out / Mono In],

Supported formats: Music?MP3 MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3, MP4 (MPEG-4 AAC), WAV (Linear PCM); Videos?MPEG-4 Simple Profile (AAC), H.264/MPEG-4 AVC High/Main/Baseline Profile(AAC); Photos?JPEG (Exif 2.2.1), TIFF, BMP, GIF, PNG