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Play ... and chat: Skype and Sony have hooked up gamers with video chat that runs parallel to any game being played.
Ditch the headset and chat for real.
Now users can play games on your portable device, while video chatting with the people you're playing against. Sony and Skype have joined forces in what is pretty much the hookup that makes the most sense. Now, the PlayStation Vita can claim an advantage over its rivals: play the game and Skype at the same time.
If you're playing a game, you can, according to Sony's announcement, use Skype in the background at the same time. You can also pause the game, make a call and then pick up where you left off. Sony's goal seems to be to make the Vita a do-everything mobile device, and the Skype move is a good one. So far, the newest gaming gadget has -- besides a decent splash at this year's CES show -- pretty much failed to make a dent in the Apple iPhone/app store dominance.
For one thing, the Vita costs $250 for the WiFi version, and $300 for the 3G+ WiFi models. That's pricey for a device that doesn't come with the cache of the iPhone, and isn't as well known in gaming circles as the Nintendo DSi. As usual, Sony is in a tough position, a little more expensive than the competition, looking to get notice.
Maybe the Skype hookup is the thing that will do it. It's also good for Microsoft for, after buying Skype, by not burying it deep in the Windows world. If gaming and chatting catches on with Vita, look for it to come to many more devices near you.
We'll be watching ... and playing.
Scott can also be found on Twitter: @scottbudman