Sony has announced that it will release the slimline version of its PS Vita handheld console in the UK and Ireland on 7 February for £180 (Euro price TBC.)
Previously available only in Japan, the PS Vita Slim (also known as the PS Vita 2000) is 20 per cent thinner than the existing model, and 15 per cent lighter. It has rounder corners than the original PS Vita, which Sony claims makes it more comfortable to hold and use, and it comes in six colours – white, grey, yellow, pink, brown, and black.
The PS Vita Slim features a 5-inch LCD display, Wi-Fi and a 1GB internal memory card. Sony claims that it has an additional hour of battery life, due to the switch from an OLED display to an LCD display.
The new console will come bundled with a 'mega pack' of games, including Alien Breed, Thomas Was Alone, Velocity Ultra, Men's Room Mayhem, Coconut Dodge Revitalized, Limbo, Hotline Miami, Total Recoil, Superfrog HD, and Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims.
So far, Sony has only sold 7 million PS Vita consoles since the Japanese arrival of the original version in 2011. However, Sony hopes that it will become a popular companion device to the PlayStation 4, thanks to the Remote Play feature, which allows two players on the same WiFi network to play PS4 titles on the Vita screen.
The news comes as Gamers worldwide are increasingly favouring their iPhones and Android smartphones over handheld consoles, according to a recent report by market intelligence firm App Annie. Both Apple's iOS App Store and Google Play experienced a surge in app store game revenue in 2013, vaulting them ahead of handheld consoles for the first time ever.
Combined, iOS and Google Play spending on games was three times the amount of the game-optimised handheld market in the third quarter of 2013.
Earlier this week, Nintendo announces a 30 per cent dive in profits for the third financial quarter, and an operating loss of 1.58 billion yen (€11m). Nintendo's poor results were blamed on weaker-than-expected Wii U console sales, as gamers are enticed by cheap downloadable smartphone games.