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(Pocket-lint) - Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that worldwide sales of its PlayStation Vita handheld console have now exceeded 1.2 million units. In addition, more than 2 million pieces of software for the device have been sold, both at retail and on the PlayStation Network.

Of course, it will have to go some to top the sales figures of its predecessor, the PSP, which has sold  more than 71 million units in just over seven years. But Sony can be reasonably proud of its initial results, considering that the PS Vita is a high-performing, high-quality piece of kit, launched during a global monetary recession.

Certainly, Andrew House, president and group CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, is upbeat. "PS Vita was designed to deliver the ultimate portable entertainment experience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the reaction we’re seeing from consumers and the pace at which PS Vita is selling," he says.

"The market has responded and there is clear demand for a mobile device capable of providing a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context.

"To sustain momentum, we’re working closely with 3rd party developers and publishers to ensure the best games and franchises possible will be available on PS Vita, and our software line up for the remainder of 2012 will have something for everyone across the globe."

It's definitely been a critical success, with a vast majority of reviews, Pocket-lint's included, singing its praises - especially when it comes to hardcore gaming.

The initial sales figures don't quite match those of the Nintendo 3DS, which sold more than 3.5 million in around six weeks after its Japanese launch, but we suspect that Sony is playing the long game. Game support will be key and Sony claims that more than 70 new titles are in development for the handheld.

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Do you think the PS Vita launch has been a success? Let us know in the comments below...

Writing by Rik Henderson.