The PS Vita, also known as the next-gen PSP, will be released by Sony to much press and public fanfare, given its high-quality redesign, positive critic feedback, and a host of features that look set to put it head and shoulders above the 3DS, albeit for almost twice the price after Nintendo slashed the cost of their own handheld.

However, it’s also releasing shortly after Christmas, if some sources are to be believed, and if this is the case than Sony, a company already struggling to look professional after the huge loss of data during the hacking outage earlier this year, are going to look somewhat foolish.

People want handheld consoles for Christmas, for the simple reason that it’s the best possible time to receive one. You can sit around the living room playing the new Uncharted, browsing to Partypoker or watching films as people fawn over bath salts and new books, and once the Christmas period is over, you can enjoy a whole new level of fun during your morning commute. It’s also extremely adept at hooking up to your home wireless network or whatever’s going, and you can download games for it with little fuss.

But by releasing it on a later date (one source gave 31st December), they risk missing out on the Christmas rush, which, if the 3DS redesign rumours are to be believed, could be something of a financial loss for them, as every child, and gaming adult for that matter, will be clamouring for one if they release during the lead up to Christmas.

Then again, it’s unwise to suggest that Sony have no smart business minds working on the Vita project, so perhaps an early 2012 release is a sign of confidence, or that they want to make sure it’s up to scratch before it hits the marketplace. Time will tell, and with rumours of even an early November release date, the Vita pre-order crowd are in for a lot of confusion.

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