In January, Sony officially unveiled their PSP handheld successor, tentatively titled the NGP (Next Generation Portable). Boasting superior power to Nintendo’s 3DS, Sony aims to take a larger chunk of the handheld market this generation, offering more “hardcore” titles with a pair of joysticks and a pair of touchpads so it can play any the games the home consoles can.

While the NGP will certainly be a primary focus of Sony’s E3 press conference where we hope to learn more about the system’s powers, launch titles and release date, rumors about the unit’s name surfaced a few days ago, indication that the PSP2 may actually be called the PS Vita.

The leak originated on a pair of blogs who posted PS Vita images which appeared to come from E3 proof sheets. Someone clearly did something they shouldn’t as the Mega Rock Blog posted the following afterwards: “A stupid mistake. This has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done.” The blog has since been completely removed from the interwebs.

A variety of sites claimed inside sources confirmed the name to be the Vita, which coinciding with the interesting domain name findings relating to the PSP and Vita, added a lot more credence to the Vita being the legitimate name of the Sony NGP.

Now, you can lock down your bets that this is the case as Sony’s official website¬†unintentionally¬†offered confirmation of the PlayStation Vita. The source code on the official Sony E3 website included three references to “PS Vita” which have since been altered. It’s too late for that – evidence is out there:

PS Vita Confirmation Sony source code

So, consider it unofficially confirmed until Monday when Sony unveils it properly at their big 5-hour presentation.

In other news, gaming analyst Michael Pachter isn’t impressed with the “Vita” name, claiming it’s the worst console name ever, an extreme over-dramatized exaggeration. Vita completely fits in with Sony’s naming of their devices (see: Sony Vaio) and the word itself is Latin for “life.” Maybe he never played the “Wii.”

From a marketing and branding standpoint, Vita works better than PSP2.

Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: CVG, IB Times

tags: E3 2011, PSN, PSP, Sony, Vita