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Opinion: Until Sony fixes the PS Vita memory card problem, the Vita won't be truly digital

They cost how much?
PlayStation Vita PS Vita, thumbnail 1
The PlayStation Vita is a wonderful piece of kit. I personally can't remember ever feeling this excited by a new piece of gaming hardware - it has great games, it has tons of neat features, and that OLED screen makes my eyes happy every time I gawp at it.

I'm definitely finding that the pros of the Vita heavily outweigh the cons. Well, except in one particular area: storage. Because, quite frankly, in this respect, the Vita appears to be stuck in the early 2000s.

For those not in the know, the PS Vita uses its own special memory cards that work in the Vita and the Vita alone. You can't use your own SD cards or any other brand of memory card - it's Vita cards or nothing.

Except it can't really be 'nothing', either. The majority of retail games require you to install some data to a memory card, and if you want to download anything at all from the PSN Store, Near, or in-game, you need a memory card.

(No) thanks for the memories

Now, this wouldn't be such a problem if Sony hadn't completely ballsed up its memory card system.

The Vita memory cards come in four sizes: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB... oh, no, hang on one moment. Actually, the 32GB card is not yet available in Europe, as a Sony representative recently explained: "at this time we are not planning to launch with the 32GB PS Vita Memory Card."

Now, I received a free 8GB memory card with my Vita pre-order (courtesy of the people at Amazon), and within five days, I had completely filled it up.

How could I possibly have filled it that quickly? Well, quite easily, actually. I bought and downloaded Frobisher Says, Escape Plan, MotorStorm RC, Half-Minute Hero, GTA: Liberty City Stories, and GTA: Vice City Stories.

I've also purchased two more games, but, alas, I'm now forced to remove games from the memory card to be able to fit anything else on. To reiterate: I've bought just SIX downloadable games. (I won't even bother mentioning the retail games that I bought on cart yet! Ooops.)

Let's be honest - six games is absolutely nothing, and so the fact that I've already filled this memory card leaves me worried about how exactly I'm going to cope with the various other games I'm looking to buy for the system over the coming weeks.

Do the Vita memory card twist

Of course, there are three options for me at this point.

The first is to delete some games to make room for others. But, the whole point of me buying them was to play them whenever I wanted, i.e. whenever was convenient for me. Having to reinstall games to play them is certainly not convenient.

I could always buy more memory cards, but, I mean, have you seen the prices? £37 for the 16GB card, and £27 for the 8GB card. If I continue to buy games at the speed I am currently, it will end up costing me more than £800 / year to store all my games on over 20 memory cards.

That's obviously the most extreme case, but it still highlights how ridiculous the situation is.

Finally, I could use the device's Content Manager to move games to and from a computer or my PS3. This is the option I will be choosing, since it is the least annoying. And yet it's still not convenient at all.

Essentially, every time I think to myself, "Ooh, I'd quite like to play that particular game" and it isn't on my memory card, I will have to connect to my PS3, move a game I currently have on the device to the PS3 to free up space, then move the game I want to the Vita.

What an absolute and unnecessary fuss just to play a game, and something that will no doubt put me off using the device as much as I'd like.

I'd intended to download the Unit 13 demo yesterday to see if I wanted to buy the full game, but, alas (again!), I haven't got enough space on the Vita to download. This means that I won't be trying it and, therefore, won't be buying it.

I've got hate for you if you were stuck in the '90s, the '90s

Here's the kicker in all of this - the PS Vita is meant to be Sony's big foray into the world of digital, with every single retail game available as a download from the PSN Store.

But, Sony, what you fail to have realised is that if users don't have enough space on their devices to download the games, they'll simply opt to shell out for retail copies, instead. Indeed, if I had just downloaded the games that I bought at retail, I would have run out of space on day one.

There are a few solutions, but I highly doubt Sony will put any of them into action. A memory card with a higher capacity, such as 64GB or, preferably, 128GB, would help a serious amount (so long as they weren't ridiculously expensive!).

Sony could also reduce the price on memory cards. Listen, guys, if you're forcing us to buy them and not allowing us to use other brands of memory card, you could at least offer them at a price that doesn't break our bank.

Finally, we can live in hope that some clever internet person develops a way for the Vita to read regular SD cards through some kind of external reader (like with the PSP). That would make everything considerably less expensive.

I will say it again: I love my PlayStation Vita. But, until this memory card situation is resolved, I'm finding it difficult to fully recommend the device to friends.

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 29 February 2012
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Apr 2014
Post count:
Ellena David | 11:01 - 29 April 2014
Samsung MB-MS8G MicroSD 8 GB Memory Card Class 4 is safe from X-rays and Magnetic fields without concern of damage as this card has been designed to stay from X-rays and magnetic fields. http://www.snapdeal.com/product/samsung-8-gb-micro-sd/597603?utm_source=aff_prog&utm_campaign=afts&offer_id=16&aff_id=4254
Apr 2013
Post count:
Yisa Yussuf | 15:54 - 26 June 2013
ive been wanting to buy a vita for the last year, ive got the money and i really want it, but everytime i justify it to myself in my head.... boom the memory card and game situation keeps my money in my pocket. Why make bespoke memory cards? Why make them so expensive? Why is there no AAA games, its been out nearly 2 years! Why aren't ps2 downloads compatible? Why is it still so expensive given all the above! why why why! untill at least one of these 'problems' gets sorted i will not buy one although the little boy inside me is crying his eyes out... shame
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 13:47 - 9 May 2013
32gb is fine as a memory card. Kirk, what gives you the idea downloading more than 1.5gb is impossible?

I prefer physical games and have a lot of cartridges that you can pick up very cheap if you shop online - people who say vita games are expensive are obviously the people who only go into GAME and HMV to look at games rather than e-stores.

I also have a full 32gb card of games and would much prefer a 64gb or even larger (even though I doubt 64gb or 128gb will be possible) but 32gb is enough to be happy with. Look at how much extra space costs on Apple devices for all those saying it should be
May 2013
Post count:
KIRKMES | 16:19 - 4 May 2013
1 Downloading is very slow and beyond 1.5g impossible
2. My 16g memory card fills up with less than half full
Dec 2012
Post count:
@rwfsmith | 18:09 - 6 December 2012
Whiny. I've been using my 32gb card since release and have not filled it up yet. Being a bit old school I do like to physically own my games, so out of my 10 or so PSVita games 8 are physical. Mine did come with a convenient hard shell case with slots for the games and a hidden space for the AR cards, though.

I understand the need for a proprietary storage card, both to ensure performance and for security reasons, but I agree they are a bit expensive. I've had a number of inexpensive microSD cards with horrendous performance, and I wouldn't wish that upon my worst enemy to try and play a PSVita game off of one of them.
Nov 2012
Post count:
@Zinvince | 07:56 - 9 November 2012
I agree with Mike

I'm the type of gamer that prefer to have lots of different game on the go (that's the soul purpose of portable handheld) and if I'm paying per game $30-40 I wouldn't finish it right away, It's not necessary. They should really lower the memory card price, considering the DLC and physical cartridge's really expensive (overall I've spent around $420 now).

Q: I'm currently using a 4gb mem card, I'm planning to move to a 32gb mcard, what's the pros and cons regarding the psn account and memory card system? If I'd purchase DLC.

Thank you
Aug 2012
Post count:
Kar Smith | 14:40 - 5 August 2012
Thanks for the heads up, I was looking into buying one and after looking at the prices of what is essentially an SD card and then doing research on the size of games off the PS store I have decided against buying one until the prices are in line with those of SD cards.

And for the corporate defenders. 1, they do not need you to defend them. 2, it is not a new medium. it is an SD card. one that has merely been locked to the medium.
Jul 2011
Post count:
aros | 13:06 - 31 July 2012
Expect a revision with internal storage once the price of components is low enough
Jul 2012
Post count:
will.wilson | 11:23 - 31 July 2012
Yeah, content manager in general is crazy slow, I've found.
Jul 2012
Post count:
Paul_Murphy | 09:54 - 31 July 2012
Has anyone actually transfered content to their PC using the content manager? That was extcruciatingly slow....
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