The Sony PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) (PCH-1000 series) will be region-free. During a PlayStation Vita session for European and Australian press at E3, Michael Denny, Sony's Vice President of Sony Worldwide Studios Europe, confirmed the tidbit to IGN. He did say that it was according to the best of his knowledge, but at this point we really don't think Sony would decide to backpedal.
Region-free simply means that you can purchase a game and system from any two different regions and they will be compatible. This is particularly important for hardcore gamers who want to buy games that are released in niche markets. The PlayStation 3 is region-free, but the Nintendo 3DS, which will be Vita's prime competitor, is not.
If you've got questions about the PS Vita, check out the recently posted FAQs. The most important information, including pricing, is below.
Sony is promising that the PS Vita will have give a PS3-level experience with a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and a multi-core PowerVR SGX543MP4 graphics chip four times faster than the PSP's. The device will come with a 5-inch OLED screen (950 x 544 resolution), two micro-analog sticks to simulate the Dual Shock experience, front and rear facing cameras, and two-finger multitouch pad on the back of the machine. Sony is hoping the front and rear touch screens will offer new three dimension-like motion gameplay experiences never before seen on any device through "touch, grab, trace, push and pull" finger motions. A Sixaxis equivalent with a gyroscope and accelerometer is also available to let players control games by moving and tilting the system itself.
In terms of connectivity you can expect built-in 3G in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, as well as GPS support. The PS Vita will come with a pre-installed app called Party, which lets you use voice chat or text chat when gaming, using other apps, or browsing the Internet. Another app, called Near, will let you share your game information with other users and add them as friends.
The Wi-Fi model will be available for 25,000 yen (including tax) in Japan, $250.00 in the US, and €250.00 in Europe, while the 3G/Wi-Fi model will be available for 30,000 yen (including tax) in Japan, $300.00 in the US and €300.00 in Europe. Exact release dates are still unknown, all Sony has said is that the PS Vita will launch globally at the end of this year.