PlayStation Vita launching December 17

Sony's PSP successor, the PlayStation Vita handheld console, will make its worldwide debut in Japan on December 17.

That's seven days after Nintendo launches a controller expansion for its competing portable console, the 3DS, alongside the coveted Monster Hunter 3G.

Initially, the crystal black Vita will be available in three bundles for the Japanese market, with pre-orders commencing on October 15.

The base model comes with WiFi functionality, a USB-to-Vita connection cable and an AC adaptor for ¥24,980 (about $325).

A Limited Edition model costs ¥5,000 ($65) extra, adding 3G and a pre-paid SIM card with 20 hours credit, while the 500,000 First Run editions come with 100 hours' worth.

A 20-hour card would cost ¥980 ($12) on its own, with 100-hour cards also available at ¥4,980 ($65).

Twenty-six games comprise the system's launch line-up, which includes Uncharted: Golden Abyss, F1 2011, Power Smash 4 (aka Virtua Tennis 4), Katamary Damacy Vita, and Minna No Golf 6 ( Hot Shots Golf / Everybody's Golf).

The Vita launch date was revealed during a press conference at the Tokyo Game Show, at which Sony also promised Vita entries to the iconic Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Shin Megami Tensei and Tales Of series.

No date was given for the Vita's launch outside of Japan, which is anticipated for early 2012. Prices have already been confirmed at $249, €249 or £229 for the WiFi version and $299, €299 or £279 for both WiFi and 3G.

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