Update: Sony has clarified the pricing for the 4GB and 8GB memory cards, we have changed the article to reflect the official prices.
The PlayStation Vita is shaping up to be a great addition to Sony's hardware line-up, but one issue consumers have with the potential handheld is that makes use of a proprietary memory card format, effectively allowing Sony to manufacture the cards and charge however much they want for them, while at the same time preventing gamers from playing order PSP games for cheap.
After some ridiculous prices for the Japanese memory cards, those in North America began to worry that the cards would also feature a less than favorable pricing scheme, and it seems these fears were not unfounded.
The prices were outed by GameStop, who has the prices ranging from $24.99 USD for a 4GB stick to $119.99 USD for a 32GB stick. Considering just how cheap memory cards of similar size are these days, these are prices are nothing short of outrageous, and in a bad way. One of the pluses of owning a PS3 was the ability to use any USB hard drive with it, and the move to a proprietary format for the handheld just gives an uneasy feeling as to what to expect for Sony's next system.
Matters are made worse by the fact that certain Vita games require a memory card, and those who plan to buy their games off of the PSN will find that 4GB will hardly suffice their gaming needs. Sony has yet to actually confirm these numbers, so they're still up in the air until it's official. In light of this situation, GameStop has also revealed some accessories for the handheld, including replacement chargers, headsets and protective films for the screen, the typical list of accessories one can except to find for a handheld/mobile device.
The Vita memory card prices:
- 4GB - $24.99
- 8GB - $39.99
- 16GB - $69.99
- 32 GB - $119.99
Despite these prices, pre-orders for the handheld still remain high, at least in the East. Reports are coming in that pre-orders for the device alone are causing long line-ups at Hong Kong retailers. That's right, there are line-ups just to pre purchase the device. In Japan, retailers were even forced to stop taking pre-orders because demand was so high, though that is no longer the case.
Adding to the lukewarm news is the recent announcement that the Vita will be unable to play PlayStation 1 games at launch. On the official Vita website, Sony has confirmed that the Vita won't be able to play titles from the Game Archives, which consists of PS1 and PC Engine/Turbo Grafx games in Japan. This news does pertain to the Japanese launch seeing as the North American PSN only has a "PSOne Classics" section, so it's possible that by the time the Vita lands in North America and Europe in February, Sony will have all of these features implemented.
Of course, games aren't the only thing Sony knows consumers are interested in and they've released a video detailing the PlayStation Vita's Twitter application. The application should look familiar to anyone who's ever used the smartphone version of Twitter, as all of the icons are pretty much the same. The app itself looks like it runs very smoothly and those who have a Vita with 3G capabilities are sure to get plenty of use out of the Twitter and other social networking applications.
Should Sony change the prices for memory cards or at least offer third party support? Let us know in the comments below.
The PlayStation Vita launches on February 22nd, 2012.
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