Vodafone has struck a deal with Sony to provide 3G Sim cards with PlayStation Vita devices in the first quarter of 2012.
The operator has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEE) to be its ‘preferred provider’ of 3G connectivity for its new PlayStation Vita in the UK, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands.
Once released, 3G versions of the Vita will ship with a Vodafone Sim card in the box so users can immediately connect over the airwaves. Vodafone will also sell the 3G version of the console directly both online and in-store.
A Vodafone spokesperson described the partnership as a first in the 3G-enabled on-the-go console market, but said 3G charges have not yet been decided. Customers who connect their Vita to the Vodafone network will receive a code for a free download.
SCEE’s president and CEO Jim Ryan said: ‘Partnering with Vodafone will enable PlayStation Vita users in the selected countries to always be connected with their PlayStation life, friends and games, wherever they are.’
Vodafone group terminals director Patrick Chomet added: ‘We want our customers to have the best choice of devices and PlayStation Vita is a great addition to our range. We know from our application downloads that games are hugely popular with our customers, so we’re delighted to be SCEE’s preferred connectivity partner for 3G Vita devices sold across Europe and other selected regional markets.
‘Using the device over Vodafone’s high performance network with extensive 3G reach and market-leading download speeds bring a reliable 'anywhere anytime' dimension to gaming.’
With 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity users can stay constantly connected to their console and their gaming friends via PlayStation Vita’s native gaming and social network applications.
The 'near' application on PlayStation Vita allows users to discover the games other PlayStation Vita users are playing in their surrounding area. The app will also enable location-based gaming features such as ‘gifting’, where users can share and leave virtual items, such as costumes and treasures, at the various locations they have visited.
Users can also stay in touch wherever they are via 'Party', a pre-installed application on PlayStation Vita that enables users to enjoy communication features during online gaming or internet browsing. Users will also be able to keep in touch and update their gaming status via the dedicated applications for Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.
PlayStation Vita 3G+Wi-Fi models will be sold through SCEE’s normal retail channels and can also be purchased through Vodafone either online or in store. The 3G/Wi-Fi model of the PlayStation Vita will be available for RRP €299 (Wi-Fi-only model available for RRP €249).
Data plans will be flexible, meeting the needs of all users. Additional details about Vodafone data plans and pricing will be announced by the operator at a later date.
PlayStation Vita will be launching in PAL regions from 22 February 2012.