By Patrick Avenell

Sony Computer Entertainment ANZ has today released local pricing and availability for its new PlayStation Vita handheld gaming device.

In an announcement that is sure to rile up the price gouging brigade, the device will cost a whole $15 more in Australia than in Europe, based on today’s exchange rates. There are greater price differences, however, between Australia and the United States, which is sure to raise the ire of gaming fans.

To be fair, SCE has announced similar prices for the PS Vita in Australia compared to the European market, with RRPs of $349 for the Wi-Fi only model and $449 for the 3G/Wi-Fi unit.

In Europe, the Wi-Fi only PS Vita is €249 (AUD $334), while the 3G/Wi-Fi connected gaming device is €299 (AUD $401). That means there is a mere $15 between the Wi-Fi only models, but a more expansive $48 difference between the 3G/Wi-Fi Vitas.

Earlier in the year, we asked readers to guess the local price of the PS Vita, based on overseas prices. The $349/$449 pricing places Australia in the same bracket as Europe for the cheaper model, but around $200 more expensive than the US market for the 3G model, compared to those launch prices.

The PS Vita will go on sale in Australia, Europe and New Zealand in February 2012.

For our friends across the Tasman nervously awaiting Sunday’s Rugby World Cup final, take a moment to digest this pricing: NZD $449 (Wi-Fi) and NZD $549 (3G).

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 “PlayStation Vita is a revolutionary device, which will offer the best possible portable gaming experiences available on the market,” said local SCE MD Michael Ephraim. “Its impressive feature set is designed to provide the ultimate gaming experiences on the go.

“This, combined with social connectivity, means there will be not only innovative new ways to play, but also new ways to connect with others.

“We are incredibly excited about the upcoming launch of PlayStation Vita.”