Sony's next generation portable games console-the PlayStation Vita-has been hailed by Japanese consumers after it went on sale in the company's native Japan on Saturday.

Thousands of PlayStation enthusiasts formed lines outside Tokyo's Ikebukuro shopping district to be among the first to get their hands on one of the most anticipated gadgets of the year, The Associated Press reported.

The PlayStation Vita was unveiled earlier this year at Sony's annual E3 events. The PSP successor was expected to launch globally by the end of 2011, but has since been delayed to a Feb.22 launch in North America and Europe, according to the AP. Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., still expect to hit high sales despite missing the holiday rush.

The Vita is packed with new features including dual analog sticks, front and rear multi touch pads, motion sensors and front and rear cameras. It will be able to connect to cellphone networks and Wi-Fi hotspots and comes with an added feature of GPS location tracking.

The new OLED screen allows more clarity than ever before, projecting approximately 16 million colors on the screen. Gamers will be able to play games against one another over Sony's internet-based PlayStation Network.

I'm so happy to see so many people lining up for PS Vita so early in the morning, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Hiroshi Kono wrote in his official blog after touring several Tokyo stores. I can tell they had anxiously waited for today's launch.

If the launch of the console is successful this could help Sony Inc. who last year projected a loss of $1 billion.

Brigantine Advisor Darice Liu predicts a lift from Sony's PlayStation Vita. Reflecting on the PSP's 14 million unit sale for 2011 he said This is Sony's first time using OLED in its handheld game console, which we believe adds fuel to the trajectory of the OLED industry, from a size and market standpoint (expanding outside the average screen sizes of 3-4.3 smartphones).

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