Features 16

The PlayStation Vita's Biggest Annoyances


I bought my Vita in an impulse buying spree, and sometimes I have to ask myself: was that really the best idea? Overall, I would say yes, as I think it’s a pretty impressive system, but that doesn’t stop it from being the cause of a number of frustrations. Its games are generally amazing, I like how it feels, and – for the most part – touch and movement features do little to inhibit the playing experience. So with that said, what are the annoyances? What frustrates me about the device? Where have Sony gone wrong?

The Memory Cards

How much?!

When the Vita was first revealed at E3 2011, the general consensus was that it was going to be an awesome, and especially affordable, handheld. That was until the outrageous price of the memory cards became known, with a 32GB costing around $100, which was then lowered to $79.99 in 2013. As it stands, even a 16GB is $36.48 on Amazon right now. That, in my opinion, is too high for the price of memory storage, and the fact that they are proprietary means that there is no other option available.

Now, you may feel that a lower amount of memory would be satisfactory. I am here to tell you that it isn’t. I have an 8GB card that barely holds anything. I have to constantly delete apps off of my Vita to make space for new ones. Sony seems to be in a state where day-and-date digital is the norm, so why would they force me into a place where I would rather buy physical copies of games, so that I don’t just have five or so on my system at any one time? Deleting them also isn’t the most practical option, as you will see below.

No Save File Access

Can I have any choice in this matter? No? Okay then.

If I were to delete a game from my Vita; that would be fine, right? Not exactly, as you can’t just re-download it from the PlayStation Store whenever you feel like it and continue playing from the point where you left off. In fact, your save file will be gone, as the Vita’s game bubbles hold not only the game itself and its updates, but also, for whatever reason, its save files. The PS3 has overcome this by having separate folders for downloaded games and saves, so it makes me wonder why the PS Vita can’t be the same. Why is there no save data management? Why can’t I even see a list of save data on the system? It doesn’t really make any sense.

Of course, I can upload my saves to the cloud using PlayStation Plus, but that obviously isn’t available for everyone – and even if I do, I can’t choose which save file I want to upload; if I have multiple saves, PS Plus will automatically upload any file from the game it wants (it seems truly randomised to me). You can back up data to your PS3 – but not individual saves, because that would be too easy. Instead, the entire application will go across with it, meaning that a transfer of a few KB could leave you waiting for hours while that digital version of Danganronpa copies onto your home console. There just isn’t an easy way to manage saves efficiently, or effectively.

Undeletable Apps

Around 1/5 of these are useful.

While there are games that you may have to delete, there are apps that you certainly can’t. Some of these apps obviously have a necessary function, like Trophies and the PS Store – but what about those that don’t?

Take, for example, the Calendar app, which I decided to open this week. Unbeknownst to me, it was for the first time. I didn’t get much further than the setup screen, before quickly exiting. This app, and others like it, are a nuisance to me because I simply do not use them. I have to wonder why they cannot be deleted. Why do I need a calendar, or maps, or an email app on my Vita? Surely I should be given the choice to pick and choose what I want to litter my home screen with. It’s also worth noting that I own a number of other devices that do these functions more efficiently than the Vita, further strengthening the fact that I will never set a reminder, nor find a location, on Sony’s handheld.

Near: What the Hell is it?

Discovering new games – why, what, how?

Near is one of the most perplexing built-in Vita apps; it’s truly a mystery to me. I get that it’s supposed to be a sort of Nintendo Street Pass-type thing, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that well. It tracks your location data, and helps you discover items left by other players. That may seem cool on paper, but in reality these prize drops usually suck. I have no use imaginable for a puzzle piece in Treasure Park.

It also lets you see how many users are playing certain games in your area, and how they rate them. I am now looking at the “Player’s Voice” menu for Little Big Planet PlayStation Vita and I can safely say that I have no idea what anything on this page means, nor how this data is collected. There’s a pie chart in the middle with some strange emoticons that tell me little in the way of any particular emotion (what does a yellow face with sunglasses signify anyway?). It also says that it has a Buzz Rating of 2.5 hearts. That’s very nice, but who has made this rating, and why do I need to know this?

Near does very little in explaining what it does, and what it is about. It confuses me profusely, and I fail to see any use in it, besides receiving mediocre gifts from close-by strangers.

Games that Should’ve Been Awesome… But Aren’t

Belongs in the trash.

I have already conceded that the Vita has a slew of amazing games – but then there are others that would be impossible to even label as “good.” While Tearaway, Persona 4: Golden, and Gravity Rush present some awesome handheld experiences, Resistance: Burning Skies and Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified do the opposite.

They both hold the monikers of Triple-A exclusives, but in them Nihilistic has created two games that both feel messy and rushed. They don’t play well; they don’t look good; and the amount of content available in them is abysmal. It makes me wonder why they were made at all. My feeling is that Sony needed the developers to finish Resistance quickly so that Call of Duty could get started, leaving them with probably less than a year to make it.

It’s such a shame that not enough care and attention were put into them, as – let’s be honest here – Call of Duty in your pocket could have been awesome. Have a few minutes to spare, turn on the system, and play for five minutes before putting it away again. The Vita needs games like that, and now with Borderlands 2 failing in similar areas, it worries me that we will never see attempts to bring bigger games to a smaller device again in the future.

I love my Vita, sans a few shortcomings, and hope that more developers will support its efforts in being a top-notch system. If this isn’t the case, and it dies a quick and painful death, at least there’s someone you can blame (probably Nihilistic).

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  • BoyBigEyes

    The first reason is because of the name: “PS Vita”. Sony made the same mistake that nintendo make with wii u. Sony should call him “PSP2”, because for many PS Vita is the same thing as PSP Go or PS Phone. But this is not the most important reason, the PS Vita are failing because of the non existence of exclusives.

  • BoyBigEyes

    Memory cards, apps, etc, shouldn’t be considered. Because are the exclusives what make a console successful. Look the PS2, the price of the memory cards are 50€ and are only 8mb! And those memory cards are the same as the previous generation! All complained of course, but in the end more than 150 millions of PS2 sold worldwide!

    • Guest

      Memory card should be considered. Comparing a ps2 memory card to a vita card is just not fair. PS2 (arguably the best console ever) actually had a multitude of games to justify the purchase of a memory card. Vita on the other hand does not.

      • BoyBigEyes

        Exactly! Games! Is because of this the PS Vita doesn’t sell. Isn’t because of the memory cards! Sony already offers a 8GB card when you buy a PS Vita. And i don´t know about how it is in another countries, but in my country, Sony offers a digital game if you buy a memory card to the PS Vita. Well where is the jump in the sells? Don’t exist! Because what will make a console sell is the games. Is because of this i say: memory cards shouldn’t be considered.

        • technogeist

          The way-too-expensive “too small anyway” memory cards are the biggest and basically the only downfall to me. It would be great to carry all my games, plus music and movies too. It should have had 100+GB built in to begin with.

          • BoyBigEyes

            All though for you can be a pediment, as it is for many people. The PS2 had expensive memory cards, PS network sucks, was weaker than the competition (Xbox) and wasn’t have the multimedia features that Xbox had, however none of this mattered, was a success because it received dozens and dozens of exclusives! Imagine, just imagine … PS Vita get Crash Bandicoot 4, by naughty dog, of course! I’m sure many would find the problem of memory cards, irrelevant.

  • Nonscpo

    No Save File Access, Undeletable Apps, and Near. Yup there is deffinetly room for improvement that Sony needs to address, in the mean time I’ll be busy with my busty Ninja’s in Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus 😀

  • XanderZane41

    I didn’t even realize that you can’t save off your save files individually to the cloud. That’s just dumb since you can do it with the PS3. I saw the Near app, but had no idea what it was for. I’ve never opened it. Sony really needs to drop the price on those proprietary memory cards. I bought a 16GB one, but I’ll probably need a new one next year since I’ve been download a lot of FREE PS+ games.

  • hesoyamdonMonster

    I have 2 8gb and one 32gb and still not enough for all the ps+ free games, The memory card needs a drastic price drop. more games are required on vita, a lot of mobile – andriod/ iphone AAA game aren’t releasing on vita, is it Sony not trying or the developer not interested ?

    • Durka Durka

      that is the stupidest sht i ever read my entire life.

      pc piracy is actually quite small we talking about thousands here. Not the imaginery numbers you think

      has improved everything games sell well, watchdogs sold over 1 million
      copies. By pushing the game so far back they are lossing sales not
      getting, since most people would have bought the game on a console, only
      hardcore pc gamers and modders will buy it now and they will blame
      piracy for the low sales.

      Rockstar ARE idiots so many
      developers put their games on pc, if they get pirates so much they
      wouldnt put them, however rockstar hasnt been on pc for a while and gta
      iv was a disaster from many standpoints.

      Also what makes you think piracy is not possible on consoles? The console versions were pirated a week before release.

      rockstar drms are pretty complicated, on top of that there is the mp
      and the steam patching byte per byte system, it doesnt worth pirating.
      Its more hussle than its worth.

      Rockstar doesnt deserve
      all those sales based on the gta name when there are developers who are
      far more capable and willing at proving games on all platforms on time.
      They seee this purelly from a biased perspective “pc doesnt make alot
      of money for us, so we will push the release day back to maximize
      console sales in xmas”

      Rockstar are the most arrogant developers i have ever seen in my whole life.

      we made a gta game, no we wont give any interviews or attend any show,
      we will stay silent about anything and put the anouncements up on our
      site wherever we feel like it. We know you gonna buy the game, so who

      If other studios had one tenth of the wealth rockstar has…if only

      • hesoyamdonMonster

        ??? WTF ????

        • hesoyamdonMonster

          ? are u alright ?

          • hesoyamdonMonster

            Whats is bs? and when did i upvoted gatv? so what if i upvoted gtav? And i didnt see any GTA in this article ? whats wrong with you ?

          • Durka Durka

            i am done, i wish you good luck with your medication

  • Guest

    #1 is Sony’s typical incompetence with this device.
    Dropping it on the market with ZERO support. Being the failing and dying company that they are, it’s their own fault. The irony is in the name, Vita is no “life” in this case, but an early grave.

  • Martin Brentnall

    Sony makes up for memory card prices with the much lower cost of games compared to the competition. 3DS total cost of ownership is WAY higher than the Vita once you factor in a dozen or so decent games for each system.