Prices start at $325 for Wi-fi model

Sony will bow its PlayStation Vita handheld Dec. 17 in Japan, the company said at a presser Wednesday, a day before the start of the Tokyo Game Show.

The prices will be the same as previously stated: $325 for a WiFi and $390 for a combined WiFi and 3G network model, despite rival Nintendo cutting the price of its 3DS from $250 to $170.

Japanese gamers who opt for the WiFi and 3G device will be able to use a prepaid gaming and messaging service from NTT Docomo, costing $12.75 for 20 hours and $65 for 100 hours.

The service is available on other portables devices, such as tablets and smartphones.

Vita is widely expected to launch in the U.S. and U.K. early next year, but Sony did not confirm the date.

Sony said its PSP handheld had shipped 71.4 million units and 51.8 million PlayStation 3 consoles by the end of June. The PSP accounted for 43% and the PS3 49% of all units sold in their product categories in Japan since last year’s Tokyo Game Show.

Sony, however, did not unveil sales projections for Vita.

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