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Sony introduces PSVita, portable console that competes with Nintendo 3DS

In a surprising announcement in Los Angeles, the Japanese company Sony announced the features and price of the new portable console PlayStation Vita (PSVita), which due to its high price tag drew criticism from fans.

The show was attended by athletes and rock stars and was an attempt by the electronics giant to leave behind the cyber attacks that have forced the company to close their network of video games for nearly a month.

The new device is designed to compete with others such as Apple’s iPod Touch and with the abundance of smartphones and tablets on the market.

After the device was first introduced in January, the show on Monday revealed other details, including the name and the suggested retail price.

It goes on sale at Christmas for $249 dollars, or a $299 dollar version with 3G connection, said the Japanese electronics giant second in command, Kazuo Hirai.

“It’s good for the loyal players who want to play all the time, but it is very expensive for the mass market,” said Dan Ernst, an analyst with Hudson Square.

The price in Japan will be 24,980 and 29,980 yen while the euro zone will cost devices 249 or 299 euros, about the same price as Nintendo 3DS, a portable 3D game launched earlier this year.

Sony’s event was held on the eve of E3 video game conference, annual meeting attracts 45,000 industry journalists, analysts and experts to a convection center the size of seven football fields.

Hirai caused some grumbling in the audience when he said that Sony would work with U.S. telecoms firm AT & T as the exclusive provider of PSVita.

Many users of Apple’s iPhone in the United States have complained that AT & T provides a poor connectivity.

Sony’s show included appearances by Kobe Bryant, who gave a demonstration of a simulation game of basketball, followed by DJ’s, dancers and the rock band Jane’s Addiction.

The optimism of the event marked a sharp contrast with the appearance of Hirai in a press conference in Tokyo May 1, where he bowed repeatedly and asked for forgiveness for the violation of Sony’s game network security.