The PlayStation Vita is a great device for portable gaming but it’s not perfect by any means. I got mine at launch and in that time I’ve used it quite a bit and I’ve noticed many things both good and bad. Don’t get me wrong, I like the PS Vita, but there are some things that I don’t care for. So this started out as sort of a top ten list, a list of things that aren’t that great about the PS Vita. These are things that I’ve noticed in my time with it, and it’s a lot more than ten sadly. So are obvious, some aren’t, some are big and some are small, some people might find them a reason not to buy one, and some people might not care. We all know nothing is perfect though, most every device and gadget sounds much better in reviews and promotional material than it does when you actually get it in your hands. So read on to see what I found or think is wrong with the PS Vita…..
1. Proprietary memory cards –
This is the most obvious and I think probably the biggest complaint about the PS Vita, why in the hell would they use these proprietary memory cards that are just ridiculously expensive?! It’s a money grab plain and simple obviously, and it does nothing except hurt Sony and their customers and the PS Vita really. Right now on Amazon the price of a 32gb PS Vita memory card is going for $81.45 and that’s the lowest I found and they go up from there. On Amazon again I searched for 32gb microSD cards and the cheapest (I think) I found is only $14.03 and it’s not some cheap off-brand either, it’s a SanDisk branded card. MicroSD cards and the PS Vita memory cards are very similar is both size and shape and I don’t really see a reason why Sony went with these proprietary cards except as a money grab. MicroSD cards are probably the most popular style of memory cards on the market right now, so there’s no real reason I can see for not using them. Seriously why wouldn’t you use something that’s just extremely popular and widely in use? Again the only reason I can see is so Sony can control the price of the cards and make more money from the PS Vita.
2. Low on-board memory –
This one sort of goes with the above memory card, but not really. The PS Vita has virtually no on-board memory, at least not enough to install any games really. In essence you must purchase a memory card, and you must purchase that card from Sony for an extremely exorbitant price. I think Sony should have went with a model similar to that of cellphones and other portable gadgets where you can buy models with built-in memory and then add a memory card as needed. They could have sold an 8gb version or 16gb or even 32gb or even higher really. They could have made the memory cards optional and not something that’s required. Yes you could argue it’s not required, but you’re argument would be wrong plain and simple. You have to have a memory card to fully utilize the PS Vita….
3. Lack of Games –
Sadly there is a lack of games on the PS Vita, and by games mean those you go to a store and buy. I know you can go online to the PlayStation Store and get games, I have PS Plus and I enjoy the games I can get so yes I know there are plenty of them online but most of them are PSP games, they’re just ports really and not actually made for the Vita. Walk into GameStop for example and there’s this tiny little section of PS Vita games, and when you compare that to the Nintendo 3DS racks, there’s no comparison really. Yes, ok the 3DS was out first but the Vita came out more than a year ago and I would think there would be more games for it by now. Sony has had more than enough chance to find or create games for the Vita.
4. Expensive games –
I’m adding this one in right after the lack of games for obvious reasons. PS Vita games are expensive, even the downloadable games are just over-priced. That’s my opinion of course, what I think is expensive others might not. Then again I’ve read many comments on numerous sites about people complaining and asking why the games cost so much, especially when it comes to downloadable games. You can take this one either way I guess, but I think it’s worth adding to the list I have going here, to me the price of games is important and I think it’s the same for many other consumers out there.
5. Lack of AR Games –
Yes, another one about games in this list. I have this same exact complaint about the Nintendo 3DS as well, one of the touted features of both the Vita and 3DS is the AR games and neither console really has any large list of games for it. Personally I like them, they’re interesting and they’re fun. I know kids like them too, my kids love playing the AR games but they quickly got bored with them as there just aren’t many of them to choose from. Why do these companies make a big deal about features like this and then just seem to forget them and not support them with more games?!
6. Screen Captures –
There’s a lot for this one. So taking a screenshot is fairly easy on the PS Vita, if you own one then you know it’s just pressing the PS button and the Start button, simple and easy it seems right?! Yes doing it is simple and easy but it doesn’t always work. Yep there are some games you cannot take a screenshot in at all, here’s an example when trying to do it in Wipeout 2048 and it says basically you can’t do that:
Once you get it to work then you’ve got a problem with Sony enabling watermarks on your screenshots. Here’s two examples, look in the bottom corner of the first one and you’ll see the Aksys Games copyright mark, yes it’s small and not really noticeable but it’s still there. Now look at the second screenshot from Uncharted, the copyright watermark there is two lines long.
Where does it end? What’s to stop them from putting an entire paragraph there? I understand about copyright and all that and the need to protect but I think most people will use these for personal use or maybe someone like me in a review. If you’re using it in a review most likely you’re promoting the product so I don’t see a need for the watermark. If these screenshots are for personal use then I really don’t see the need at all for the watermark, if anything you’re saving them for yourself or maybe sharing them with your friends to show them something about the game. Here again I don’t see the need for the watermark really. I know someone will mention sharing but it’s not like you’re copying the whole game and sharing it, it’s a screenshot…
Here’s two more screenshots from two different games, here there are no copyright watermarks at all:
So why do some have watermarks and some don’t? Why can you take screenshots in some games and in some games you can’t? Sony needs to make up their mind about both of these…
7. Can’t Record Gameplay Videos –
This kind of goes with the above screenshots, but not really, but again it’s one of those things that deserves mentioning. One could make the argument for none of the other consoles really being able to do it, but I think recording gameplay videos goes hand in hand with gameplay screenshots. If you can do one then why no the other? To me it just doesn’t make any sense at all…
8. No Flash on Camera –
The PS Vita actually has two cameras, one on the front and one on the back. Sony wants people to use the cameras, but there is no flash on the main camera. I can understand not having one on the front but there’s plenty of room on the back of the PS Vita for an LED style flash. Yes the camera isn’t the greatest, it’s comparable to most cellphones, but even the worst camera can benefit from a flash. The PS Vita camera works fairly well in bright light or outside conditions but it’s pretty bad in low-light or indoors. I just can’t figure out why there’s no flash as there’s a lot of room to put one…
9. Not Great in Sunlight –
This just fits in here anywhere in this list. I use my PS Vita indoors most of the time but I take my kids to karate class and end up using it outside many times and I’ve found that it doesn’t work well in bright light either in direct or in-direct sunlight. If you try and use the Vita in direct sunlight it’s barely visible really and the screen is glossy so it makes things even worse. Using it in in-direct sunlight is doable but it’s hard and you can miss many details of your games and again the glossy screen comes into play here as well. The screen acts like a mirror really, I found myself angling the Vita so I wouldn’t be distracted by my own reflection in the screen.
10. Speakers –
The PS Vita has stereo speakers and they sound great honestly, that’s not the complaint here, it’s that they’re just not that loud. I’ve got kids and they’re not exactly the quietest creatures out there, and I’ve got dogs as well who can noisy and I’ve found myself straining to hear the PS Vita at times. If there is no one else home and it’s quiet then I can hear the Vita just fine. Using the Vita outside is virtually impossible, cars driving by make it hard to hear. I’ve personally resorted to using headphones most of the time and sometimes I use an external speaker to make the sound from PS Vita more audible.
11. Can’t Download Multiple Items –
Here’s an obvious one but it’s a complaint surely: Why can’t I download more than one item at a time? I don’t know about anybody else but my Vita only downloads one thing at a time. it’s annoying really that you can’t do this. I don’t get it and I don’t know why it’s limited this way.
12. Slow Downloads –
I’ve got FIOS 75/35 and the PS network is slow. I’m sitting about four feet from my router so it’s not a connection issue, so that leads me to believe in it’s a PlayStation Network issue. I can understand slower speeds on 3G enabled PS Vita devices, but I have a wi-fi device and it’s ridiculously slow. I don’t understand what the problem here is at all, why can’t it go faster on my home network.
13. What Happened to Remote Play? –
Another greatly touted feature of the PS Vita is the ability to play your PS3 games on it. So where is this great ability at? I think it’s up to 30 games now that will let you do it, and that’s out of how many hundreds of titles? It’s small fraction of games that you can do this with. I would thin it would be in a game companies best interest to include this feature in their games, but then again I’m not a game company and they may think it’s a bad thing for whatever reason…
14. Cross Controller Play? –
Here’s another greatly touted feature that’s even less utilized than Remote Play and that’s Cross Controller play. Yes you can use the Vita as a controller just like you regular PS3 controller but there’s even more to it since there’s the screen included. Last I looked there was three games with this ability or feature. The only word I can think of is : “WOW”. Seriously what the hell happened here, who dropped the ball on this one?
If the miniscule list of games isn’t bad enough they want us to pay for the ability to do this. One of the games is Little Big Plant 2, just for an example so let’s just say you buy a PS3, a PS Vita and LBP2 but to be able to actually utilize the PS Vita in LBP2 you have to give Sony more money. HUH? Talk about a money grab, I mean really we spent all this money and you want more to be able to utilize your products together? I wonder what would happen is let’s say Apple told it’s customers you have to pay more to be able to sync or use your iPhone with you Mac? It’s essentially the same thing, and I know there would be an uproar. Apple iPhone/Mac is just an example, but you can use anything. How about if you buy a Sony HDTV and Blu-ray player only to find out you have to go to Sony and buy a special cable to get them work together?!
15. Cross-Play –
This goes with the above two I think, what happened to cross-play ability? Last I checked there are only eight games that have cross-play enabled or the ability to do it. Not much more to say here really, I just have to ask where is this great feature?
16. No Drag and Drop –
You must use the Sony Content Manager to do any type of transfers. This is another one I just have to ask why? Why can’t I just drag and drop? I really don’t need yet another program on my computer to do something as easy as transfer content. I can understand using it for backups and all that but not for transferring things.
17. Tiny, Hard to Open Game Slot –
This one maybe should be higher on the list, it probably should be at the number two spot really. Anyone who owns a PS Vita knows that it’s damn near impossible to get the gaming slot open easily and without any pain. if you own the Vita then you’ve bent your fingernails back trying to open the slot and you know it’s not an entirely painless experience. I have to wonder what sadistic designer thought of this was a good idea? Seriously I have to really wonder how this got through quality control, did no one at all not notice just how hard it is to get the game slot open? In all the time the PS Vita was under development, you can’t tell me that no one noticed this ‘little’ design flaw here. I’ll be honest, it hurts trying to get the game slot open with your fingernail and I don’t see any other choice except using some sort of tool, but I’m loathe to do that as it could damage the case of the Vita if it slips. I’ve been using the side of the game cartridges themselves, but I’ve tried not to as they’re just plastic and they could break. I don’t really see any other options to open it really, at least not damaging or less-painful ones… Anybody got any ideas for this one?
18. Limited Video Formats –
I was going to say obscure video formats or maybe even limited compatibility for video formats but neither of them sounded right. The point is that the PS Vita uses a very limited and not what I would call popular video formats. I think everything you’ll want to play in terms on the video on the Vita will have to be re-coded from some other format.
I have some more to add to the list, but I guess you could call them Honorable Mention as they’re not exactly bad for everyone, or maybe not all the time. It’s a few things that I think should be worth mentioning though, but they don’t exactly fit in the main list. Some might be personal feelings of observations of the PS Vita…
19. Small for Adults –
I’m sorry but I have to include this one, the PS Vita just feel too small to me, it always feels like I’m going to drop it, it just feels small in my hands. I’m an adult though, so I’m sure children don’t have this problem.
There are option though, I picked up I guess what you could call a handle for the PS Vita that’s just a simple device but makes the Vita much more comfortable and ergonomic to use for me.
Here’s the Vita in the handle, it doesn’t add any length or width but it adds handholds on the bottom making it much more natural and comfortable to use. I think I paid $3 for it actually off of Deal Extreme and it’s not some cheap thing, it’s lasted me quite a while and I use it all the time.
20. Lack of Intuitive Hardware Controls –
This is a moot point now as this functionality was added with a firmware update but I have to wonder why it was not included originally?! Using the hardware controls is just a natural response, but yet it was lacking at launch.
21. Long Charge Time / Short Battery Life –
This one here I guess is subjective, to me it seems like it takes a long time to change the Vita, over three hours. The battery also doesn’t seem to last that long, you can’t get all day out of it that’s for sure. Yes you could argue that your cellphone takes that long but Sony made it so you could only charge via USB and we all know that’s not exactly fast. Yes you plug it into the wall, but it’s still only USB powered.
22. USB Charging is Finicky –
This one here goes with the above power issue but it warrants it’s own mention. I review a lot of stuff and I’ve found that external power sources for mobile devices are rather popular. One would think that since the Vita is just USB you’ll be able to use one of these external power supplies, but I found not all work. Yes it’s the same voltage and amperage, but yet the Vita still won’t charge from it. I’m guessing it’s some sort or power protection circuitry inside of the Vita , but why would one work and not another?
23. Lacking Accessories –
This one here sort of goes with the above, and not. There are lot of accessories for the Vita but not as much as what you see for any of the Nintendo portable devices or even iPods and such things. An official battery pack for the Vita would be nice to extend play time, or even an unofficial one, but to my knowledge no such thing exists, but I could be wrong. From a reviewer stand point I’ve noticed the more accessories a product has, the more popular it is or it’s going to be. It might be just a coincidence of course, to me there seems to be some correlation between the amount of accessories and the popularity of the device or devices.
24. Not Exactly Popular –
I think several of the things I mentioned above have to do with the not-so-popular popularity of the PS Vita. Let’s face it the Vita isn’t exactly popular when you compare it to Nintendo products which is basically the only real competition for it. Don’t get wrong here, the PS Vita is a great device, but sadly it’s just not selling like one would think it would. It’s got specs and all but I think the lack of decent titles really hurts it.
I’m thinking Sony is betting on the PS4 to bump up the popularity of the PS Vita. What I think is that the PS3/Vita combination is a just a trial run as it were to whet the appetites of people on what we can expect from the PS4 and Vita working together. If you’ve been paying any attention at all to the PS4 information floating around out there then you’d know it seems like the PS Vita will be playing a very large role in the usage of and enjoyment of the PS4. Some people are already comparing this to the Wii U and it’s second screen on the controller, but it’s different in a big way since the Vita is a stand alone portable gaming console and the Wii U controller is not. There really is no comparison to be made, it will work similar fashion with the second screen but that’s where the similarities end.
The PS Vita should be wildly popular as it’s just an excellent device overall but it isn’t, and most of the blame lies squarely on Sony.
I’ve listed a lot of things here that I found wrong or what might be considered issues for the Vita. Did I miss any?