Sony's Playstation Vita and Nintendo's Wii U

Sony reveals next generation portable gaming device

Sony revealed its next generation portable gaming machine, Playstation Vita, at E3 – the gaming industry’s annual convention.

Playstation Vita, a motion-sensitive handheld device, allows gamers to be connected with one another over mobile phone networks and wi-fi hotspots, as well as use GPS location-tracking technology.

Sony’s device, costing $249 for the wi-fi-only version, was unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, the video game industry's annual convention known as E3. A version that will also have mobile phone service will sell for $299, and buyers will have to subscribe to a data plan.

The handheld has front and back cameras, a touchscreen in front, a touch pad on the back and two knob-like joysticks. It will enable gamers to play against people using PlayStation 3 consoles over the internet-based PlayStation Network, a system that was recently restored after being shut down due to a massive hacking attack.The hardware comes with an accelerometer, which means it will also react to being held at different angles and being moved through the air.

Meanwhile, Nintendo also lifted the lid on its new touchscreen controller for its next-generation Wii.

Nintendo retains the lead in gaming hardware, but is struggling to win users from Microsoft and Sony after the disappointing introduction of its 3DS handheld device.

Gaming executives now hope a new Wii can jumpstart a $65 billion video games industry - surpassing Hollywood in size - still struggling to rebound from the recession.

The entire console is still under development, but expected to go on sale between April and December 2012. No price has been set, but some speculate it could move for $299, or about the same as an Xbox twinned with a Kinect motion-sensing system.

The new console is the first Nintendo device to support high-definition graphics and will sport a microprocessor or brain from International Business Machines Corp and graphics processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. But it was the controller that has stolen the limelight.

Its 6.2-inch touchscreen works like a second display and can show the same images that are on the TV screen or provide gamers with additional information, giving them an edge over competitors.

The Wii U’s controller can also be used to make voice calls and run old Nintendo games. It has motion-sensor capabilities and works in conjunction with existing Wii controllers. With its array of buttons, the device could appeal to hardcore gamers who could use it for first-person shooter games.

The device also acts as a stand-alone gaming gadget. It can, for instance, continue running a game on the touchscreen while someone else watches TV. But it functions only in wireless connection with a Wii U console.

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