Global Observer

Sony's PS Vita launches in Hong Kong, steals show at gamer event

Posting in Technology

HONG KONG -- Release of the portable game console made it the hottest item at the Asia Game Show.

HONG KONG — Sony released in Hong Kong its newest portable game console PS Vita on the opening day of the Asia Game Show, an event that attracted nearly 470,000 male-dominant visitors over the Christmas long weekend.

The move helped PS Vita steal the annual four-day show that features the latest video games, scantily clad models and “cosplayers” elaborately dressed up as Japanese anime characters.

Thirty booths exhibited PS Vita games such as Uncharted and Gravity Daze/Rush.

But the real draw was sales the console itself. Visitors stood in line for the device, which debuted in Japan a week ago but won’t be sold in the U.S., U.K. and Canada until February 22, and Australia and New Zealand one day later.

Even though the PS Vita was officially released in Hong Kong on Dec. 23, customers scrambled to place preorders a month in advance to stake their claims. It comes as no surprise that the preorder quota sold out quickly.

Only a limited number were being sold at the show, and they went quickly, reportedly mostly to customers from mainland China where the console is not yet available. Only 100 units were for sale yesterday and sold out in an hour.

James Hong of Sony Computer Entertainment HK told the South China Morning Post that the company’s sales increased by 12% compared to last year’s show, reaching $3.3 million.

Over the course of the Game Show, Sony also showed off a number of apps for the device, including two new free apps: Wake-Up Club, an alarm clock that allows users to send alarms to other users, and Picture Park, a drawing program.

PS Vita’s unfinished Twitter app was previewed during the show; Facebook, Foursquare and Skype apps have also been promised for the device. The console, which is listed at $249 in the U.S., comes with wi-fi capability, and a more expensive version has 3G.

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Vanessa Ko

Correspondent (Hong Kong)

Vanessa Ko has written for TIME, South China Morning Post and Phnom Penh Post. She holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Hong Kong. She is based in Hong Kong, China. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure