We were kind of hoping that the PlayStation Vita would launch here in October, but it seems the next-generation handheld won't now be hitting UK or US shores until 2012.

The delay means no Christmas Vita action, unless you live in Japan, and also means that Sony will miss the chance to take on Nintendo and its 3DS over the peak holiday season.

Sony Corp executive vice president Kazuo Hirai has stated that, despite earlier promises of a roll-out this year, the PlayStation Vita will only go on sale by the end of 2011 in Japan, with a widespread release pencilled for early next year.

He said the decision behind the delay was to get key gaming titles ready for the launch and denied that Sony's plans had been affected by Nintendo's recent 3DS price-slash.

"We packed so much into the device and made it very affordable," Hirai told reporters at Sony's Tokyo headquarters. "There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower their price."

There's nothing official from Sony yet, but we're hearing the Vita will be priced at £279.99 for the 3G variant or £229.99 for the Wi-Fi only offering. As ever, we'll keep you posted...