Sony’ next-generation portable video game console will not launch in the U.S. until early 2012, Sony Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai told The Associated Press on Thursday. Sony’s PlayStation Vita will become available later this year in Japan, but it will miss the all-important holiday shopping season here in the U.S. and in Europe as well. Some, such as Daiwa Securities Capital Markets analyst Koki Shiraishi, believe Sony’s sales will take a huge hit as a result. “That’s when you do half your year’s sales,” Shiraishi told the AP. “This is going to prove painful for Sony.” When it finally does launch next year, the PlayStation Vita will start at $249 for a Wi-Fi-only model and a 3G-equipped version will be available for $299.