Playstation Vita to launch in Japan December 17

Sony will manage to get its newest gaming handheld out by the end of the year, despite earlier concerns raised by this year’s earthquake and tsunami.

The company announced today that it will sell the Playstation Vita in Japan on December 17, barely scraping by in time for the big holiday rush. Among the games confirmed for launch is the fighting title Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom.

As many as 26 games will be available within the launch window, with 74 others in development, Sony said. But it’s more than just the games. The system boasts a lot of online interaction, with downloadable and multiplayer content expected to be a major part of Sony’s Vita strategy.

Unfortunately, gamers in the US will have to wait until 2012 to get their hands on the device. Sony said last month that it won’t be able to bring the Vita to other territories until “early” next year.

The Vita still has a lot of factors going for it though, not the least of which is the very accessible price point. The device will cost a modest $250, for the WiFi model, or $300 for the 3G version.

The Vita has already been called Sony’s potentially last game-specific mobile device. The company has already started pouring resources into Android and has been working with bringing Playstation connectivity to its sister mobile company Sony Ericsson.

However, the Vita offers several features that most traditional smartphones can’t, such as a dedicated game-launching memory card slot, dual joysticks, a touch-sensitive panel on the back of the device, and the ability to sell at low prices without a mobile carrier subsidy.