Regular Vita Player readers will have seen that we’ve been trying to highlight as many of our favourite PlayStation Mobile games as we can over the last couple of months prior to the upcoming closure of the PSM service. We wanted to make sure that everyone had the chance to get some of the best PlayStation Mobile games that are available before they disappeared forever. Infact, it was my intention to continue posting more of these recommendations over the next few days but circumstances have stopped me from doing this because it’s become apparent that there are some serious issues at hand for fans of PlayStation Mobile that could affect any games that they may have purchased to-date…
While the purpose of this post isn’t to scaremonger in any way, I do want to make sure that everyone is forewarned about what problems may occur in the coming weeks, but as it currently stands this could have very serious repurcussions for PlayStation Mobile loving PS Vita owners everywhere.
So what exactly is the problem? For those of you who have been following the story of PSM’s closure, as you will be aware Sony Computer Entertainment informed gamers that their PlayStation Mobile collections would be safe as long as they activated their consoles from April 2015 onwards through the Settings area on the PS Vita and PlayStation TV. While this was supposed to have worked in theory, it hasn’t quite proven to be the case. What Sony has forgotten to take into consideration is that the PS Vita is now primarily a console that is dependent on digital distribution for its software library. While there are no official figures, it is believed that almost 80% of titles sold for the Vita are digital and as such memory card space for Vita owners is at a premium. So much so that PS Vita owners are not only owning larger memory cards, but most now own multiple cards.
And this is what is causing the issue with PlayStation Mobile. For those of you who use more than one memory card, we’re used to the routine of card swapping – the wait of a few minutes while the PS Vita re-builds its internal database as new memory cards are inserted. It’s a minor inconvenience that we have come to accept in order to maximise the storage at our disposal and it’s certainly a better option than being dependent on Content Manager to continually swap files between the Vita and a PC / PS3. Unfortunately, when it comes to PlayStation Mobile, this seems to be having an adverse effect…
Essentially, when memory cards are swapped over, it is changing the way that the PS Vita is “seeing” the PlayStation Mobile titles that are on the card and in effect each time a new card is inserted it deactivates the PS Vita when it comes to PlayStation Mobile. PSM titles cannot be played without connecting to the PlayStation Network to obtain authorisation and more often than not, the console itself needs to be reactivated to allow any PlayStation Mobile titles to be played. Our obvious concerns here are two-fold. First, if games still require the authorisation process after the service is taken down completely in September, without the servers will this mean that we will be unable to play any of our PlayStation Mobile titles?
Of greater concern is the activation issue. While we have all been told that we must activate our consoles in order to continue using our purchased games, if we are being forced to reactivate our systems every time we change memory cards then this will simply be an impossible task for many gamers after September. Let’s just look at the basis statistics for a minute to see why this is going to be such a problem…
- There are over 500 PlayStation Mobile titles available in the EU alone
- The PS Vita can only support a maximum of 500 icons on its home screen (including those within folders)
- 20 icons are placed on every Vita’s home screen as standard for system icons
- Every boxed game owned places an icon on the home screen
- The single largest memory card that is available for the Vita is 64Gb although only the 32Gb is officially distributed in the West
- A 16Gb card can hold 300 PlayStation Mobile games
The reality is that gamers simply can not hold their entire PS Vita collection on a single card without using Content Manager. Urgent change is needed either to the Vita’s system software, the PlayStation Mobile activation process (so it becomes a hardware or PSN account issue rather than linked to memory cards) or some other solution or Sony Computer Entertainment could find themselves in a rather difficult situation with gamers in a couple of months time.
If gamers fail to take measures to ensure that they can keep their collections then the onus is certainly on them, but in the event that Sony have failed to ensure that gamers can play their games beyond September, which is looking likely to be the case for those with multiple memory cards, then gamers could be set to demand a refund on all of their PSM purchases and it’s a position that Sony wouldn’t want to find themselves in.
Rest assured that we are attempting to talk to Sony Computer Entertainment to try to get to the bottom of this problem to make sure that it can be rectified and we’ll keep you all posted.