Soapbox: Sony Is Depriving Players of the Optimal PS Vita Experience
Posted by Sammy Barker
Sammy Barker stumps up for some expensive storage
After examining the ‘Add to Basket’ button in more detail than a washed-up celebrity does a reality television show contract, I took the plunge on a 64GB memory card for my PlayStation Vita recently. The extortionate storage sticks are currently only available in Asia, and considering that I spent close to £80 ($130) for the microscopic square of plastic, it’s easy to understand why. However, having had a chance to install the pricey peripheral and appreciate my system with the added memory available, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the way that the device is intended to be played.
The handheld is perfect for flipping through digital experiences on-the-go, much like you’d hop between albums on your MP3 player of choice
In an interview published earlier today, PlayStation UK’s always-candid managing director Fergal Gara suggested that the commercially challenged console is the gaming equivalent of the iPod. “Compared to the PlayStation 3, the Vita has had a higher percentage of games bought digitally since it was first launched,” he told VG247. “It’s interesting and it demonstrates how many people look at it as the iPod of handheld gaming. More Vita games are still consumed through physical game cards than they are through digital, but things are increasingly moving the other way.”
The quote’s been pulled out of context a little due to the executive’s poor choice of analogy, but the point that he’s clearly trying to make is that the handheld is perfect for flipping through digital experiences on-the-go, much like you’d hop between albums on your MP3 player of choice. And he’s right: the portable’s snappy user interface and bulging library of digital content make it the perfect solution for gaming when you’re out-and-about – or at least they should, if it was actually cost-effective to do so.
I’ve already written at great lengths about the problem of the platform’s overpriced memory cards, so I don’t really want to linger on that point. Instead, I want to explain how the 64GB option changes that. Prior to taking the plunge, I’d grown tired of shuffling my content around like Tetris bricks. Being a reviewer means that I’m perhaps more exposed to digital codes than the average player, but as alluded above, I like the immediacy of having my library instantly accessible – after all, fiddling around with cartridges the size of standalone sugar packets isn’t viable when you’re on a busy train.
In my opinion, though, the real beauty of the system’s catalogue is the variety in its lineup. I know that many are disappointed by the number of blockbusters available for the machine, but it’s probably the only gizmo on the market that allows you to jump from something as meaty as Killzone: Mercenary to as throwaway as King Oddball. And that, for me, is what makes it a complete console: I can switch from an experience with real mechanical depth to a timewaster that barely commands my attention at all. However, with my old 16GB card, I couldn’t do that anywhere near as effectively as I can now.
I suppose some would argue that I just wasn’t being thrifty enough, but I found the limited space a noose around my entertainment. My old proprietary piece of plastic could hold a handful of games, for sure; I could squeeze Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Street Fighter X Tekken, and WipEout 2048 onto the unit no problem – but then I was more or less done. Where was the space for Tearaway, Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, and the upcoming Toukiden? Something had to give, and it ended up being my bank balance as I stumped up for a much larger card.
Some would argue that I just wasn’t being thrifty enough, but I found the limited space a noose around my entertainment
Perhaps I’m in the minority wanting access to such a vast array of games at once, but I’ve always felt like the handheld’s designed with that in mind. Opening multiple tabs, flipping between different LiveAreas, and – with the addition of a recent update – being able to categorise your content by genre or type is clearly a colossal part of the format’s appeal. Even if the inevitable digital future doesn’t necessarily speak to you, then those of you that have subscribed to PlayStation Plus are likely to have experienced the headaches discussed within.
And as such, it’s saddening to me that the platform holder refuses to address the problem. It’s clearly aware of the way in which people are using the handheld, and yet it still makes it unfeasible for the average consumer to enjoy the device as it was clearly intended. Even greater PlayStation Store sales beckon if it would just drop the price of the larger sized cards – but as it stands, I suspect that I’m going to be one of the few to stomach the cost required to experience the system as it should be. And honestly, I can’t really blame anyone for not joining me.
Are you attracted to the idea of being able to transport your entire Vita library around with you, or do you still prefer to splash out on physical cartridges? Do you want to buy a bigger card, but refuse to pay an extortionate fee? Mull it over in the comments section below.
Do the prices of Vita memory cards aggravate you? (80 votes)
Yes, I’d love to have a bigger digital library but won’t pay for the privilege
I can’t say I’m really fussed either way
No, I still prefer purchasing physical products so I’m not really bothered
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