Xperia Play US release date announced; shipment to New Zealand stolen (updated)

In a rather odd turn of events, Vodafone New Zealand has admitted that an entire shipment of Xperia Play units has been stolen.

In a rather odd turn of events, Vodafone New Zealand has admitted that an entire shipment of Sony Ericsson Xperia Play units has been stolen.

According to the carrier's official Twitter page, there has been a "major security breach" and the launch of the gaming handheld in New Zealand will have to be delayed. There have been no other official details at this time, including no word on just how many units were actually nabbed.

The Xperia Play, also known as the "PlayStation Phone," has already faced setbacks in other parts of the world. The most obvious obstacle has been production delays in Japan for the Play, along with the Xperia Neo and Arc devices, due to the tragic events in March. Additionally, the Gingerbread-based handheld was pushed back in the United Kingdom already because of software problems.

While this might seem like a tiny matter in comparison to the global meltdown of the PlayStation Network in the last month, things still just keep getting worse and worse for Sony all around the world.

Nevertheless, there is one bit of positive news on the horizon. The Xperia Play will make it's long awaited debut in the United States on May 26. Set to launch with Verizon Wireless, the gaming-focused smartphone will retail for $199.99 with the signing of a two-year service agreement. Hopefully those software bugs have been fixed...and none of the delivery crates suddenly go missing.

UPDATE: Apparently the Vodafone theft in New Zealand was a sham, and the company is actually responsible for the hoax. How bizarre.

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