Sony Corp will launch its new PlayStation Vita handheld games device on December 17 in Japan, and will not discount the price, the head of its Japanese games unit said on Wednesday.

The price decision comes despite what analysts see as the flop of rival Nintendo's 3DS portable games gadget.

Hiroshi Kawano, who heads the domestic unit of Sony's games business, was speaking to reporters a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show.

Sony said last month it saw no need to reduce the price of the PS Vita from the announced figure of 24,980 yen ($325)for a Wi-fi only model and 29,980 yen ($390)for a 3G plus Wi-fi version.

But the company last month cut the price of its PlayStation 3 gaming console by a fifth in a bid to regain lost ground against its rival Microsoft, which makes the Xbox. ($1 = 76.880 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds and Reiji Murai; Editing by Michael Watson)