Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation Vita will go on sale in Japan on 17 December with pre-orders starting on 15 October.

The console will cost 24,980 yen (£206) for the Wi-Fi only version, or 29,980 yen (£247) for the 3G one.

As well as the official launch date, Sony also confirmed 26 launch titles for the handheld console and stated that a further 74 will follow after that.

The launch titles include Virtua Tennis 4, F1 2011, Uncharted: Golden, Lord of Apocalypse and Ridge Racer with titles including Metal Gear Solid HD Edition and Rayman Origins included in the next batch. 

Sony also stated that many PSP titles would be available for download via the PlayStation Network, and that there could also be a download solution for your exiting UMD games.

In the western world, we're hoping that the Vita will be available on 31 December, although just 2 weeks after the Japan launch seems unlikely now.

That date appears on the US Amazon site and, although there's no mention of it on the variety, we know that a widespread release is pencilled in following the Japan launch. However, an early 2012 launch seem more realistic now.

In the UK, Amazon has the handheld console priced up at £229.99 for the Wi-Fi only version, and £50 more if you want 3G too.