63% of PS3 owners want a Vita

It appears Playstation fans are loyal fans indeed, as nearly two-thirds of existing PS3 users are planning on purchasing the new Vita handheld after it launches early next year.

Specifically, Sony says according to its own survey data, 63% of those with a PS3 right now said they will buy a Playstation Vita within 18 months of its February 2012 release date.

In addition, 60% of PSP owners want to upgrade to the new handheld. It’s been more than five years since Sony released a brand new piece of gaming hardware, so gamers are anxious to get their hands on the latest and greatest gadget.

The Vita had been planned for a holiday launch but thanks to Japan experiencing its most powerful earthquake in recorded history earlier this year, Sony manufacturing facilities were crippled and led to sweeping delays in production of the device.

We spent some quality hands-on time with the Vita at E3 earlier this year and found the collection of early titles a mixed bag, with Sony first-party studios already unleashing the power of the unique dual-stick and front-and-back touch panel controls. Some of the third-party titles, though, seemed clunky, though all of the titles we tested were in early development stages.

The Vita will make waves as the first dedicated game system to have built-in 3G support, and could be a bridge for Sony as it shifts focus to the mobile market. The company has been launching several games on the Android Market and recently bought out Ericsson to have complete control over the company currently known as Sony Ericsson.