Since the PS Vita was discontinued, it’s brought with it a string of problems for owners. New consoles have disappeared from shelves at retail. Those few remaining stocks are now only available at extortionate prices on the reseller circuit. And that means that once the inevitable happens with our own systems, buying a replacement means turning to the second hand market.
That market is already seeing price increases both for the Vita and PlayStation TV. But of greater concern is how we can look after our existing machines while we still have them. For a machine that’s no longer in production, it’s getting increasingly difficult to get spare parts and accessories, so how do we make sure we can continue to get the most out of our Vitas for as long as possible? Here are some of our top tips to keep your Vita running as smoothly as possible…
1. Memory Cards
PS Vita memory cards have always been a controversial topic of conversation. While many have blamed them for the console’s downfall that’s not the biggest problem they bring to the platform. Released in various sizes – 4Gb, 8Gb, 16Gb, 32Gb and 64Gb – they were expensive from the start. with no third party options available and production of these stopping some time ago they’re becomming increasingly expensive. Brand new cards are commanding astonishingly high prices so most are having to resort to pre-owned cards for storage.
But that isn’t where the problem lies. Many who could afford to originally sought out the higher capacity 64Gb cards. Sadly that proved to be something of a false economy. Returning reportedly high levels of failure from users, they’re proving to be remarkably unstable cards. Users with 64Gb cards are being advised to replace them with smaller cards as a matter of urgency to preserve their digital collection (as well as game patches and DLC). But with a finite supply of cards on the market, this is going to be a race against time.
We often take power leads for granted. With most modern devices – certainly mobile phones and mini consoles such as the PC Engine and SNES Mini – all using standard USB cables, we never usually think about not being able to get new cables when we need one. But when it comes to the PS Vita, and more specifically the original 1000-series, they use a non-standard PSU and connector. The reality is that these cables do break over time. Even if it’s just the lead between the PSU and the Vita itself, it’s time to stock up on a few spares while you’re able to.
3. Going Physical
Sony always tried to push for the Vita to be a digitally-focused console. With the closure of the PlayStation Store happening at some point in the future it only highlights just how important physical game cartridges actually are. If you’re able to swap your collection over to physical (or at least partially) not only will this reduce the need for memory card space but in the case of limited release games, most will be pre-patched and contain all the DLC released, again negating the need to access the PlayStation Store in the future.
Physical games aren’t for everyone, but it can make managing your memory cards much easier and will help future proof part of your games collection that could be at risk of deletion from the store at some point in the future.
4. Content Manager
But if physical games aren’t your thing, then you need to make sure you back up your digital collection regularly. While Sony’s Content Manager is cumbersome to use, it does the job and will let you back up everything from your Vita to your PC or even the PS3. Games (including DLC and patches), music, photos and videos – everything will be safely tucked away.
What’s most important to remember here is that it’s not something to be done just to save space on memory cards or to just trim things down to save money so you only keep games active that you want to play. No matter what format or size, digital storage media will fail eventually so backups are the only guaranteed way to make sure your collection is safe
5. Hack Your Vita
This is again another issue of storage more than anything else. Once your Vita is hacked it will allow you to use MicroSD cards for storage (with a suitable adaptor. For those of you with a digital only collection for the Vita this is a perfect solution for all your storage woes. It’s not so simple for those of us with large physical collections however, as the MicroSD adaptors fit into the Vita’s gamecard slot! So you’ll still need a regular memory card or two for your extra content.
Those of you with the early 3G enabled Vitas can get these modified to add MicroSD card support by replacing the 3G module, although this needs both firmware hacking and physical alterations being made to the console so it’s not for the faint-hearted. But doing so will give you the best of both worlds – access to your game cards and the use of MicroSD storage.
The other benefit of hacking your Vita is to gain access to the incredible homebrew community that’s out there. After the end of 2021 there will be NO new PS Vita games being released commercially. From that point onwards the only new titles available will be fan produced releases. That doesn’t mean we’ll have to settle for low quality games – far from it – but the only way to experience these is with a fully hacked console.