/ Technology

Sony, why limit us to your own expensive memory cards?

With the PlayStation Vita launching next month, the thorny issue of proprietary accessories has reared its head again. Sony’s handheld requires you to buy its own memory cards, at the cost of your wallet.

The PlayStation Vita uses its own proprietary memory card, meaning that gamers can’t simply purchase a standard SD memory card to save their data. The Vita isn’t even compatible with the Memory Stick Duo, the proprietary memory card used by Vita’s predecessor, the PSP.

Cost of the PlayStation Vita’s memory cards

With the download of flagship title Uncharted: The Golden Abyss reportedly weighing in at 3.5 gigabytes (GB), Vita owners are going to need a lot of memory for their new handheld.

And not only will gamers have to stick to Vita’s own memory cards, they’ll have to buy them separately, since Sony isn’t bundling one in with the handheld.

Sure, you don’t have to download games for your Vita, you can buy them on the high street instead, but you’ll going to find it very difficult to enjoy your handheld without a memory card.

So, let’s take a look at the prices for Vita memory cards on Amazon.co.uk: a 4GB card will set you back £14.99, 8GB will be £27.99 and 16GB will cost £39.99. In contrast, a standard 16GB SD card would set you back around £10. That doesn’t quite look like value for money.

Are you annoyed by proprietary accessories?

When Nintendo launched its 3DS last year, not only did it take standard SD memory cards, it even came with one. A smart move by all accounts, so why didn’t Sony follow?

Sony might argue that it’s using proprietary memory cards to help tackle piracy, but that didn’t really help the PSP, nor Microsoft’s Xbox 360 from being affected by illegal copies of games.

Proprietary devices and formats are nothing new. From ebooks to bizarre headphone jacks on mobile phones, the Xbox 360’s hard drive to Apple’s iPhone data cables; it looks like they’re here to stay. Whilst they might provide a useful revenue stream for manufacturers, they’re a pain for consumers.

I can’t be the only one who has wasted time hunting for a USB cable, just because the five I have in front of me don’t fit my device. It’s frustrating to say the least, and when I’m looking to buy new tech, I see a lack of proprietary accessories and ports as a huge bonus. Why should we have to put up with them?


At least they’re not significantly cheaper in the US ($59.99) or Japan (Y 4500) for once. That’s around £38. Guess we’re not being ripped off in that respect for a change.

I know a few blokes who use Pro Video cameras made by Sony, their ‘SxS’ memory cards are about £400 each for 32Gb. I know they write quickly and have locking tabs on them, but even so – Ouch!

Sony memory cards for cameras were (and possibly still are) expensive too. For that reason I have never been interested in Sony cameras.

Shivore says:
19 January 2012

They’re expensive for a reason. Normal SD cards can’t read/write fast enough for the Vita, it requries higher speed cards.

The cheapest high speed cards you’ll find of the right size will run you about $80 for 32GB barring any special super-duper sale or something. Sony is charging $100 for that size. (Sorry, don’t know UK pricing as I’m from the US, but I’ve heard the pricing is similar).

So yes Sony is overcharging a little but really not that much. And this article is misleading, you don’t need a lot of space if you buy the games in cartridge form. Uncharted takes 30MB for saves and that’s it, and most other games take less than that. If you just use the memory card for saves and buy your games at the store, a 4GB card will easily last you for years and dozens and dozens of games.

Even if you download a lot of games, or go for PSN only games like Escape Plan, you can easily use your computer as a media hub to store the games and use the Vita’s connectivity to only load the games you’re playing now on your card. Again, 4GB or 8GB is all anyone should need unless they just can’t stand waiting 5 minutes to transfer on and off a computer (or they don’t have a computer).