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.