US retailers list PS Vita date as Dec 31

 Amazon and Gamestop have both listed Sony’s upcoming Playstation Vita handheld as having a launch date of December 31.

While it’s unlikely that the device will actually come out on New Year’s Eve, the fact that both online stores are punching in a 2011 launch date placeholder may mean they are confident that the gaming gadget will be coming out sooner rather than later.

The Vita will be released in Japan on December 17 and was originally supposed to come out in the US by the end of the year as well. However, because of the massive earthquake and tsunami that rattled Japan, including Sony’s manufacturing facilities there, production was crippled.

Sony has said that the Vita will now come out in the US and other parts of the world early next year. But how early? Amazon and Gamestop seem to think it will be really soon.

Online retailers have a tendency of listing bogus launch dates for products they have no release information for, just so they can encourage pre-order sales. However, Sony’s own information has said the Vita will be in the US in 2012, so the fact that two major stores have decided to put a 2011 date next to the product could signify they know something we don’t.

When it is released, 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.