By Patrick Avenell

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has used E3 to launch the new PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console. Pricing for some markets was also announced, with SCE suggesting retail prices for the US, Europe and Japan; creating an enormous range for how much it will cost locally.

The Vita features a 5-inch OLED multi touchscreen on the front and another multi touch pad on the rear. According to SCE, this enables users to “touch, grab, trace, push and pull” during various modes of operation.

Game titles announced at E3 for the PSV include Uncharted: Golden Abyss, LittleBigPlanet, Ruin, WipEout, ModNation Racers, Reality Fighters, Super Stardust Delta, Sound Shapes, Hot Shots Golf and Hustle Kings.

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No official release dates have been announced, though SCE have reported it will available by the end of 2011. International pricing (with Australian exchange in brackets) is:

United States: Wi-Fi $249 and 3G/Wi-Fi $299 ($232 and $278)
Europe: Wi-Fi €249 and 3G/Wi-Fi €299 ($338 and $406)
Japan: Wi-Fi ¥24,980 and 3G/Wi-Fi ¥29,980 ($290 and $348)

There has been enormous debate this year since the launch of the Nintendo 3DS over the prices charged in Australian for gaming consoles. Readers are invited to leave their comments or PSV price prediction in the field below.

Selected PSV specifications (as provided by SCE):

-5-inch OLED multi touchscreen (front)
-Rear capacitive multi touchpad
-Front (QVGA) and rear cameras (VGA), maximum resolution 640×480
-Built-in GPS on 3G model
-Ports: memory card, SIM card (3G only), Multi-use (USB, DC, audio), headset jack, accessory port, game slot
-Supports most common music, video and image file formats

The new PSV, not to be confused with the football team started by rival CE brand Philips.

A look at the rear touch pad on the PSV: this is a real step forward for handheld devices.