So you’ve got a PS Vita or PlayStation TV but the chances are one of the key things you’re missing is a memory card or you’re looking at extra storage. With such a high dependence on digital downloads for the PS Vita’s software catalogue and even more so for the PSTV, we wanted to make sure that all of you could get the most out of your console and get the most out of whatever memory card options you choose. Even if you’re a hardened Vita owner, we hope that there’s something here that you’ll find useful…
PlayStation Vita Memory Card Guide – Updated 12th April 2019
The original 1000 series PS Vita came with no on-board storage. So unless games stored all their save game data on the game card and you rely on a 100% physical game collection with no need for game patches or DLC then you’re fine. But with most games having patches at one stage or another or using memory cards you’re left with little choice but to get at least one card at some point.
Both the slim PS Vita (2000 series) and PlayStation TV were upgraded to feature 1Gb of internal storage. While this may have seemed like a positive step forward giving gamers an initial starting point negating the need for the purchase of a memory card from the offset, this does have a few drawbacks. Firstly, with the size of patches and DLC for many retail games as well as games from the PSN Store (not to mention PlayStation Plus) this is woefully inadequate. Those who have purchased a PlayStation TV will find that almost all of this is taken up with the free games that are bundled with the system right from the off.
More frustratingly is a simple design fault that – considering the fact that this is something that Sony’s mobile phone division have incorporated for years in their handsets – the consoles do not allow this memory to be combined with additional memory cards so if you insert a memory card into the PS Vita or PSTV then the internal storage can not be accessed. What sounds like a good idea for gamers at first quickly becomes a redundant feature and you are left with 1Gb of storage you can’t use.
Sizes of Memory Cards
There are five sizes available – 4Gb, 8Gb, 16Gb, 32Gb and 64Gb although the 64Gb cards are only available officially in Japan. However, just like physical games, memory cards are not locked to a specific region so it is safe to import 64Gb cards and use them on EU and US consoles. One thing that you need to bear in mind is that the sizes stated is their unformatted capacity. Once prepared for use, you lose approximately 10% of this. This is something that applies to all storage media and not just with PlayStation systems. So whether its memory cards, hard drives or even back in the 8-bit and 16-bit era with floppy disks you lose some capacity. The actual capacity of the cards are:-
- 4Gb – 3.7Gb
- 8Gb – 7.4Gb
- 16Gb – 14Gb
- 32Gb – 29Gb
- 64Gb – 59Gb
Please note that the listed capacities can vary from card to card and in some cases you may get slightly more or less space than listed above but this is a good approximation.
Pricing And Availiability
Prices vary wildly with memory cards so it is advisable to shop around. The best deals appear to be found through eBay or Amazon. It is impossible now to buy brand new memory cards at retail in the UK. As such, pre-owned is your only option and that seems to be through only a handful of stores. There may be some of the Mega Packs remaining in stores as leftover stocks but I would be cautious about these now, While they may seem to represent great value for money, the chances are that the bundled game codes are no longer valid so you will simply be paying over the odds for the card itself.
The cost of cards has been a long term concern for most PS Vita owners. It was a deciding factor for many who chose not to buy the system. But the dedicated format has been adopted by Sony both to counter piracy. And, as with the PSP before it, has also allowed the PS Vita to offer lower priced digital downloadable titles in comparison to other portable platforms. The memory card prices do subsidise the PSN Store to a limited degree which benefits the entire PS Vita community. Unfortunately, there are no third-party memory cards which appeared later in the PSPs lifespan.