The pre-E3 rumorthon leak machine has been fairly low-key this year, and with a week to go until the show, we’re sure to get some interesting things in the coming days. In what could possibly be a scoop on one of Sony’s major focuses at the event, rumors are buzzing that the NGP/PSP2 has its final product name, and it’s not what anyone expected if true.

According to the rumors, NGP may be known as PlayStation Vita, and PSVita for short, when it hits stores later this year. The information initially came from an anonymous inside source, then quickly followed by some rather official looking marketing/promo images for the system, which show the alleged new name displayed where “PlayStation” was simply labeled before, as well as the touchscreen user interface we’ve already seen.

The source of the images affirms they are the real deal — as most leakers usually do — but there is no way of being absolutely certain; if that’s the case, someone’s bound to be the target of Sony PR Ninjas. It’s worth noting that the image of the handheld used is not currently one Sony has issued in their official press shots, so an existing asset being manipulated would require some hard work. There are more than enough talented, PhotoShop-happy gamers these days, though.

Interestingly, if you recall, the NGP was reported to be codenamed “Vita” or “Veta” before its official unveiling back in January. That was the name developers were referring to when leaking out details of early dev kits. Vita, on the other hand, is Latin for “life”, something Sony is trying to breath back into their portable gaming business.

Further adding a bit more credence to whatever shred of legitimacy may (or may not) be here, domains for PlayStationVita.com and PSVita.com were secured recently as well. The sites were nabbed by Ascio Technologies and its owner NetNames Ltd., an international third-party domain registration firm who has been used by Sony in the past. The PlayStation.nl URL, which now redirects to UK.PlayStation.com, was filed for by this proxy company.

Is PlayStation Vita indeed what we’ll be dropping upwards of $250 on this holiday? Who knows. It would fit in with the likes of Sony Vaio, Bravia, etc. Hopefully if this is a superb PhotoShop hoax, it’ll be uncovered before long. Let us not forget when the internet was so sure Xbox Kinect was going to be called Xbox Wave; or when PlayStation Move was known as PlayStation Arc until the 11th hour. Not to mention claims Nintendo’s new console may be called ‘Stream’.

No comment from Sony at this time.

[Update]: The source blog of the alleged images has gone offline. However, it remains viewable in part via Google cache, with a comment reading “They are prepared graphics for E3. When the event starts, look for a graphic that has the title on the top-left written in the PSP font, the system in the middle, and the Playstation logo on the top-right. The console looks the same as the pictures released before with the exception of PSVITA in the center.”

The author also notes that the post was “one of the stupidest things” they’ve ever done. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m sorry. I really am,” it’s written. Whether that means they faked it and it went too far, or were in fact perhaps busted by Sony PR remains unclear.

Further, both Game Informer and Ripten are semi-corroborating the PSVita rumor, with the latter going on to say their source confirmed the system’s Sony Bend-developed Uncharted game is called Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

[Update 2]: Sony also has developer-restricted sites vita.scedev.net and ngp.scedev.net, as well.

[Update3]: Well, this is about as good as confirmed now, but we must still give some wiggle room. Sony’s official E3 site briefly  displayed a direct referenced to Vita” this week, before it was removed. Not only was the name found in the site source code (via NeoGAF), it was also clearly present on the page as “PS Vita®”, along with other PlayStation trademarks.


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