Sony offers successor to PSP and hacking apology

Sony shows off the new portable PlayStation Vita at E3 in Los Angeles

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Sony has taken the wraps off its long awaited update to the PlayStation Portable.

The company launched its next generation handheld, PlayStation Vita at the E3 video games show in LA.

Jack Tretton, the boss of Sony's US gaming division used the opportunity to apologise to for the recent attack on the PlayStation Network.

Around 77 million user accounts were compromised when hackers gained access to the service earlier this year.

Speaking at the Los Angeles Convention Centre, Mr Tretton said he recognised the need to address the issue.

"This is not the first time I've come to the stage at E3 with an elephant in the room," he told the audience.

He apologised to software publishers, retailers and gamers whose data may have been stolen.

"I want to apologise personally and on behalf of the company for any anxiety that we have caused.

"It is you that causes us to be both humble and amazed at the amount of dedication and support you continue to give to the PlayStation brand."

Mr Tretton said that PlayStation network activity had been restored to 90% of pre-outage levels.

Kazuo Hirai says Sony 'learned lessons' from the hacking attacks on PlayStation Network

His apology was echoed by Sony Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai who told BBC News that he expected the company to bounce back quickly because of gamers' loyalty.

However, he warned that the threat from determined hackers was not going to go away.

"It is certainly incumbent upon the companies that acquire that information to use it and secure it, and store it in a very secure environment," Mr Hirai told the BBC.

"But I think it's also a situation where once you make sure you have a secure network, then the people who are out to get the information will try to outdo the security mechanisms we've put in place."

Back to gaming

Sony dedicated the remainder of its E3 show to launching the new Vita handheld.

The device features a touch screen, front and rear touch controls and WiFi and 3G data connections.

It will launch in the US, Europe and Japan by the end of the year, the company said.

Initial pricing was only available for the United States, where the Vita will cost $249 (£150) for the WiFi only and $299 (£183) for the 3G model.

Gamer wearing 3D glasses Sony also announced plans to launch a 3D monitor and glasses for the PS3

Moans were heard in the audience when Mr Hirai announced that Sony would partner exclusively with telecoms giant AT&T as the exclusive carrier in the US.

AT&T was initially the sole network for the iPhone when it launched in the United States and was much derided for its data coverage.

As well as aiming to move on from the bad publicity surrounding the PSN hack, Sony will be hoping that PlayStation Vita helps it to reclaim some of the portable gaming market that has been lost to mobile phones.

Earlier in the day, at its WWDC developer conference, Apple claimed that its iOS system, which runs on iPhones, iPad and iPods was the most popular gaming platform on the planet.

Sony also announced a further push into the 3D gaming market, with the release of a 3D display, which will come packaged with an HDMI cable and a copy of the upcoming Resistance 3 game.

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