Sony makes mobile gaming push with handheld Vita

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NEW YORK (AP) — Sony is intensifying its push in handheld gaming with a gadget aimed at hardcore players looking for something with a bit more punch than “Angry Birds,” ”Words With Friends” and other smartphone pastimes.

The PlayStation Vita, already available in Japan, debuts in the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday. A basic, Wi-Fi version will retail at $250, while one that can access 3G cellular networks will go for $300 plus monthly service fees from AT&T.

Sony Corp. plans a $50 billion marketing blitz. The company acknowledges it won’t be an easy sell.

People have grown accustomed to playing games on handheld devices that also make phone calls, shoot videos, connect to the Internet, play songs and send text messages. The company is counting on gamers to want dedicated gaming devices.