One of the PS Vita’s key problems was its memory cards. Not only in terms of their limited capacity, but the fact that Sony opted to use a non-standard format. The rest of the world were using SD and MicroSD cards for their devices. In contrast, Sony Interactive Entertainment chose to use a proprietary system for the Vita in the same way they did for the PSP before it. While it was ideal to reduce piracy, it inflated prices for the consumer and limited card capacity to a maximum of 64Gb.
Card Shortages And Availability
The issue was compounded with the distribution of the cards. They weren’t easy to find at retail, with many stores only stocking the smaller 4Gb, 8Gb and 16Gb cards. 32Gb cards were nowhere to be found and the much sought after 64Gb card was only available in Japan. That left us with a few somewhat limited choices early on in the Vita’s life – rely on Content Manager or build up a collection of smaller memory cards.
Hacking The Vita
Once the console hacking scene turned its attention towards the PS Vita, this seemed to provide an ideal solution to the memory card problem. The SD2VITA memory card adaptor allowed the use of much larger MicroSD cards in the PS Vita’s gamecard slot on hacked consoles. More affordable and offering a significantly higher capacity, it seemed perfect. However, removing access to the cartridge port meant that Vita owners with a physical game collection still needed at least one official memory card for patches and DLC for any games they owned.
And with some games like Killzone Mercenary needing as much as 1Gb and Borderlands 2 needing several times that, it’s clear that a large card is still an essential requirement for any serious PS Vita owner as our Memory Card Guide explained. But now a serious problem has arisen…
Many of us aspired to own at least one of the 64Gb memory cards, and took to importing them from Japan (I own three myself). Initially they proved to be an ideal solution to our storage problems, even more so once Sony Interactive Entertainment removed the 100 icon limit from the Vita’s homescreen. But after a a year or two, owners of 64Gb cards noticed something strange was starting to happen. Cards were reporting errors when being used, data was corrupting and users were having to reinstall games constantly to get them to work properly. It soon transpired that the 64Gb memory cards were prone to failure… and this didn’t appear to be occasional isolated incidents either. These were being reported by Vita owners across the globe. 64Gb Vita memory cards had become a ticking time bomb for all of us who owned them.
A Race Against Time
The reality now is that any of us who do own these cards need to replace them as quickly as possible. Whether that means hacking your Vita and opting to use an SD2VITA, a few 32Gb cards and Content Manager, or simply stock up on the more reliable 32Gb and smaller cards is entirely your choice. However, with games being delisted from the PlayStation Store at an alarming rate it is only a matter of time before many of your games collection will disappear and you simply won’t be able to re-download them if they are removed from Sony’s servers.
This is probably the final nail in the coffin for many with the PS Vita, and will certainly leave a bitter taste in the mouth for anyone who did buy 64Gb cards and now has to replace them. It’s not only the inconvenience and added expense to replace them, but knowing that potentially hundreds of pounds has been wasted on storage that was not fit for purpose. It certainly doesn’t create confidence should Sony ever re-enter the handheld market again, and if they do and choose to offer a non-standard storage medium again many will steer well clear for this reason alone.