The Nintendo 3DS put 3D gaming in consumers’ hands last year without the need for special glasses. Now Sony is launching its own take on next-generation portable gaming in the form of the PlayStation Vita, with its superior motion and touch controls, social networking features and cameras.

The notion of a dedicated handheld games console seems almost quaint in the age of the iPad and smartphone gaming. An extra nail in the coffin of such devices appeared to be hammered in a year ago, when Sony unveiled the Xperia Play, an Android phone with slide-out controllers that are very similar to those on a PlayStation 3 or PSP (PlayStation Portable).

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Sony has announced a lower than expected price for its next-generation portable console as makers of gaming devices face growing competition from smartphones and tablets.

At a news conference at the E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, Sony revealed that the device, previously known as NGP, would be called the PS Vita. It said a basic version would cost $250 in the US, €250 ($367) in Europe and Y25,000 ($312) in Japan when it goes on sale later this year. Read more