Despite rumors to the contrary, the 3G enabled PlayStation Vita will launch February 22nd, right alongside the Wi-Fi version of the hardware. The Vita 3G will offer on-the-go access to games, social networks, and more. In preparation for the system's launch, AT&T has announced pricing for its Vita data plans.
The 3G enabled PlayStation Vita will retail for $299.99, $50 more than its Wi-Fi only counterpart. Players who wish to take advantage of the system's wireless features will need to purchase a separate data plan through AT&T, the exclusive wireless carrier for Vita in the United States. The plans are month-to-month, will be available at launch, and can be activated right from the Vita itself. The details:
- 250MB for $14.99, 30-day recurring opt out, which starts at the date and time of purchase.
- 2GB for $25.00, 30-day recurring opt out, which starts at the date and time of purchase.
Players who purchase a service plan will also gain complimentary access to "more than 29,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide." Of course, for some users, even the 2 GB plan won't be enough. As such, Sony will be offering a tiered Global Data Connect Plan to players who have an active service plan.
- $24.99 for an extra 20MB in over 100 select countries.
- $59.99 for an extra 50MB in over 100 select countries.
- $119.99 for an extra 100MB in over 100 select countries.
- $199.99 for an extra 200MB in over 100 select countries.
At this time, the "select countries" eligible for the the Global Data Connect Plan have not been specified, though Sony notes that, "Countries in the Global Data Connect plans may change at AT&T’s discretion."
Obviously, on-the-go gaming is the big selling point of the 3G Vita, but Sony has packed a number of social networking features into the hardware as well. Take a look at the details on near, LiveArea, and more below.
- Location-based application "near" will allow users to find out what other PS Vita owners in their vicinity are currently playing and what titles are most popular in the area. "near" also enables location-based gaming features such as "gifting," in which a user can access virtual game-related items that other users are sharing by checking in at geographic locations. For example, in the popular kart racing series ModNation Racers: Road Trip, PS Vita users will be able to collect rare gift items provided through the game when visiting specific points of interest in 45 major cities around the world. They can then share them with other PS Vita owners through the "near" application.
- "LiveArea" is an interactive interface for each PS Vita software title in which users can access the latest information for games through PlayStation Network.
- In addition, a variety of social networking and communications services such as Facebook, Flickr, foursquare, and Twitter will be available on PS Vita.
Phil Rosenberg, senior vice president of business development, SCEA, describes his company's vision for the 3G enabled Vita.
"PlayStation Vita will completely transform the way consumers game on the go, offering new ways to play games and interact with entertainment. With access to AT&T's mobile broadband network, PlayStation Vita owners will be able to stay connected with their friends and experience PS Vita's rich social gaming features virtually wherever they are."
Despite the hardships faced by Vita in Japan -- specifically the 3G model, which has been discounted by some retailers -- prospects for the system's North American launch remain reasonably bright. The system's expansive, varied launch lineup is a major plus, and it doesn't hurt that the Vita's proprietary memory cards won't be quite as pricey as initially feared.
Do you plan to buy a 3G enabled Vita? What do you think of the data plan prices? Let us know in the comments below.
The PlayStation Vita launches February 22, 2012, in North America.
Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken