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Reg Hardware Mobile Week The PlaySation Vita is Sony's latest attempt to take portable gaming to new heights, and it finally hit UK shelves last week. With quad-core smartphones waiting in the wings and gaming apps aplenty, the company's refreshed PSP has its work cut out. Sony PSP Vita Tap to play Fortunately, the PS Vita …

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1.3 MP ?

I have no comments on the Vita itself but IMO the 1.3MP camera is very poor. I don't say that because of the specs, but because it seems all Sony has done is make their camera smaller and not better.

For my old PSP (3000) I have a 'snap on' camera which you can attach to the top. It can then be used to make photo's and stuff as Skype. Its a 1.3MP camera as well, so I would have expected a little better after 2.5 years.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1.3 MP ?

Still double that of the iPad2....

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Re: Re: 1.3 MP ?

why would it need a better camera though? It's ample for AR. Most people carrying these around would have a better one on their phone anyway

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: 1.3 MP ?

Agreed. Additionally, for skype calls, smaller is better. (Bandwidth hogging wise at least).

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Happy

Re: 1.3 MP ?

I agree, the camera's shabby - but I love my Vita anyway, currently playing Everybody's Golf & WipEout. Will be interesting to see if I bother using it to take Skype calls though... I suspect not, I barely get 3hrs as it is... currently looking for a good USB external powerpack (luckily the end of the cable that plugs in the power brick, though notched, is standard USB).

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Van

Re: 1.3 MP ?

Parents will be the biggest buyers of the Vita eventually. I doubt they will give two hoots how many megapixels the camera has. They want to shut the kids up and Sony wants to save a few pennies.

If the camera is not good enough for your needs, buy the likely better version in a couple of years that Sony will need to update to keep up with the times for newer gamers coming in. Newer gamers who will be exposed to faster and flasher smart phones.

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Price

Simply, it's going to be a huge issue.

Everyone I know who has talked about the device has said it's way too much for them to consider - and that's before the cost of games and storage is factored in. In fact, I've noticed that the only people who who have said that it's not too expensive, good value for money etc, have been reviewers.

So far, sales in Japan have been low - the PSP is now outselling the Vita. Japan is such a strong market for portable gaming and if it doesn't do well there, I can't see it doing well elsewhere.

Of course, Nintendo has previously said that it sees Apple as being its main competitor in mobile gaming - it's written off Sony.

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Happy

Re: Price

I'm not a reviewer, just a random on the internet, and while it's undeniably an expensive bit of kit I wouldn't describe it as overpriced - then again a trade in of my old PSP plus a gift card from Christmas meant the cash outlay for me was £205 for the console, memory card, Uncharted, Motorstorm and Escape Plan.

And it's a bloody brilliant bit of kit.

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Re: Price

I'm sure I'm not alone in being bored of the price argument. It's broadly in line with the PSP, DS and 3DS at launch. In fact if you look back, it's probably cheaper than the Game Boy and Game Gear were in 1990 when you allow for inflation - I recall those games costing £20-£30 each.

I don't see this failing on price.

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Re: Price

The Price is fine.... you have to look at the market is in and then you will realise that its CHEAP. I bought one last week and its amazing. Compare it to the iPad for example (yes i know people say that you cant compare it because its not a console, but since its release people have been saying that alot games are now bought on the iPad and its taking over the market <_<). The Vita is a real contender for the iPad as it is half the price almost, it has a very slick interface and apps. you can already get twitter, facebook on the device and a Netflix app is already out in america (not uk unfortunately) but it is lacking YOUTUBE! i also herd things about skype which would contend facetime as its multi platform not just mac...

SO the comparison.

Yes the vita doesn't have all the apps the ipad has but its cheaper and a better games device, (lets face it ipad is just a big games/facebook tablet, iwork doesn't really make it a productivity tablet yet)

and with some big apps on the way for vita why would you buy an ipad?

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@GregC

Sure, but I didn’t actually say that it was overpriced – just that the folk I know say that the price point is a sticking point. The majority of these people think it’s a super bit of kit, but they find it tricky justifying the outlay (particularly when they don’t have a device to trade-in). I suspect a lot is to do with the feeling that hand-held devices should cost a fair bit less than home consoles in any case, but also that a handheld gaming device is more of a luxury than a home console.

Quite a few people I know expressed interest in the Vita, which vanished when they heard how much it, games, storage etc. cost. It’s probably going to take a lot for that first impression to go away.

I'm certainly not going to say that the people I know are completely representative, but I do feel that more than a few punters are going to look at the cost factors carefully - times are hard, after all. On the other hand, I’ve seen several reviews that have basically just said ‘We think it’s good value for money’ – it might be, but without arguing the case in a bit more depth, it’s felt (to me, anyway) that hacks are skirting round an issue that it going to be an important one.

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Re: @GregC

All fair points, and for my part I'm not for a minute trying to pretend it's cheap - it isn't, by any sensible definition, but I do genuinely think you're getting what you pay for. And of course I had the good fortune of both a trade in and some Xmas money.

The only other thing I'd point out is that Asda are already selling it for £197 - granted you still shell out for the memory cards (the price of which I can see absolutely _no_ justification for), but I do think the sub-£200 price point might prove to be important.

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Re: Re: @GregC

I hadn't seen about Asda - thanks for the tip! I think you're very right about the sub-£200 price point.

I should also add, I would love to be proven wrong - as a gamer, I want strong competiting platforms!

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@Annihilator

Initial PSP sales were brisk, but it was largely early adaptors – to that market, price isn’t really an issue. The problem was is that they didn’t buy media – Sony was banking on them buying games and films, shows on UMD media, but after a year, the average owner had bought 2 games.

The 3DS launch price was an issue – it was too high. People – or rather not, enough people – were willing to bite at the first price point in order to have 3D games. If people are going to find it difficult to justify the cool Vita stuff at the current pricing, then a similar thing will happen.

One problem with the 3DS launch price is that it was a lot more than previous units:

DS - $150

DS Lite - $130

DSi - $170

3DS - $250

The DSi was a decent machine but I think most of Lite owners (I would include myself in this) would have said that it was definitely worth the extra cash – the new features were too minor.

What we’ve seen with the GameBoy beating the likes of the GameGear and the Lynx or the DS and the PSP, it’s not the higher-specced machines that have won. In the case of the Gameboy, graphics may have been less good than the opposition but it was more portable and had better life – which for the majority of gamers was more important. To be fair, software should be considered – Tetris was a killer app for the Gameboy.

The Vita looks a lovely piece of kit, but if I spend that kind of money, I would hope for excellent loading times – when I read that this doesn’t seem to be case in the review, it’s something that was a concern for me. If there are a few niggles like that which aren’t in evidence in competing products, then I think a high price point is an issue,

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Annihilator

Don't be put off by slow loading times - I have seen very little of it. Races in WipEout take a while, as does skipping through the Cup calendar in Fifa, but other than that I failed to be frustrated at any other load times. In fact, with Fifa for example, matches load marginally quicker than the PS3 version. From what I've seen overall, load time is not a biggie by any means.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Price

Come on, get with it.

Since Microsoft joined the party, it's become fashionable to hate Sony and bitch and moan about everything they do,.

The press are basically Microsoft and Apple puppets these days, saying and doing whatever they wish, as they are the ones that hold all the money.

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Happy

@GrecC

Bang on - my PSP was £250 in 06 (still going strong btw), so a quad-core CPU & GPU, with almost 'retina' qual OLED screen, for the same cash, is imho not horrible. I'm sure I'll be in tears come the 1st price crash this December - bound to be down to £189 or somesuch... but

ah, well...

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Van

Re: @Annihilator

"The DSi was a decent machine but I think most of Lite owners (I would include myself in this) would have said that it was definitely worth the extra cash – the new features were too minor."

______________

The DSi was not an upgrade path for you DS lite owners.

It was an updated version of the platform to give a better choice for consumers (mostly parents) inline with other shiny gadgets appearing. It amazes me how selfish older gamers are in criticising Nintendo for their updates not being worth it, when new gamers are coming into the hobby all the time, and are likely to go for the most upto date system, especially when it was only 20 euros more for the extra features Nintendo added with trying to keep up with the times.

The cameras, media software, SD card slot, online store and web browser, were a very welcome choice for parents to keep little Johnny amused that little bit longer and well worth the extra 20 euros. My Nephew still often messes around with the recording software and still wants tunes converting to their silly audio format. And some of the photos he's taken whilst wandering off are pricless, crap quality or not.

If you felt the DS Lite lacked too many features, perhaps you shouldn't have bought it in the first place? I doubt the biggest buyers of the new handhelds, the parents, will give it as much thought though.

I doubt I will be buying the PSvita because I feel Sony havnt quite got it right. Hopefully they will produced an updated version that ticks all the boxes, if not, theres still a hell of a lot of video games out there I still havnt played.

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@Van

“The DSi was not an upgrade path for you DS lite owners.

Many gamers often trade in their old model to get the new one at a reduced cost. From the manufacturer’s point of view, this is good as existing customers are less tempted to go to other platforms.

“It amazes me how selfish older gamers are in criticising Nintendo for their updates not being worth it, when new gamers are coming into the hobby all the time, and are likely to go for the most upto date system, especially when it was only 20 euros more for the extra features Nintendo added with trying to keep up with the times.”

In the UK, the DS Lite cost £99 and the DSi cost £150 – so there was a 50% mark-up. That’s an awful big price jump.

I traded my DS Lite to get one, so I did get a decent discount. However, even with that, it wasn’t good value for money. Yes, there were new features, but they had taken away the ability to play GBA games and had region-locked the software. As a pure games machine, the DSi and Lite offered essentially the same.

The DS Lite continued to sell well and the second-hand trade has been much stronger that the DSi (so I’ve been told). People *did* look at what they were getting for how much. I take the point about your nephew and I’m sure there are many like him, but there were an awful lot who weren't - and that does include younger gamers.

“If you felt the DS Lite lacked too many features, perhaps you shouldn't have bought it in the first place? I doubt the biggest buyers of the new handhelds, the parents, will give it as much thought though.”

Many apologies, but I only skim-read the preview of my post and didn’t pick up my error. I wasn’t griping about the DS Lite – that was the first DS model I bought – but that the Dsi didn’t offer a whole lot more for the money. At £99, the DS Lite was an absolute steal – the same couldn’t be said for the DSi at £150.

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Van

@Euchrid

The DS lite was still selling for £140 just over a month before the DSi released at £149. Here on mainland Europe they sold for a long time (still do) side by side with that small price difference. As they did in the USA $129 v $169.

LIke I said before, the extras on the DSi were certainly worth it to the millions of parents who wanted to keep their kids amused for that bit longer You could perhaps argue that serious gamers were/are happy to make those savings to focus purely on games.

The UK is a fierce market and I imagine you got your lite for £99 after a knee jerk supermarket fire sale. In which case the DSi would have looked overpriced. If you're savvy enough, you'll scan all the hot deal websites, bargain forums for the right prices anyway. I believe Morrisons were doing DSis for £99 around Xmas time, with similar good deals on the XL. or the recent Amazon £129 3DS bundle. Totally unheard of on mainland europe and out of Nintendo's control. Hence why I would spring to their defence.

My point was that too many mature gamers were wrongly criticising Nintendo for not making the DSi worth the 'upgrade' to them. I dont think these people really know themselves what market they are in. To me its the "demand shiny new tech" market, which is owned by Apple. With Nintendo continually stubborn in giving us the proper wow factor, but then they are a defacto toy company, not a big boys toys company like Apple have are become. I would love to see Nintendo do an Ipad or iphone, with their innovation on top, but its not the price point or market they like to do business in.

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Anonymous Coward

For me personally it's not just the price that's the problem. Has anybody here actually tried playing Wipeout? It seems to take forever to load a level, and if this is indicative of the waiting times in other games then it will end up being irritating to use.

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jai
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Slow loading times? How did they manage that, surely fast loading times should be one of the prime benefits of moving away from UMDs.

I really hope that's just a glitch due to first revision of software or rushed coding to get it ready as a launch title, because if not, it's going to really put people off once word gets around

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(Written by Reg staff)

Yeah but in its defence, there's a lot of detail in WipEout levels. Most of the other games don't take nearly as long to load, although it clearly takes longer than a PS3 and for super detailed games, things aren't going to be instant.

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FAIL

Easy

They didn't load the launch day patch that fixed the loading times.

The usual sloppy El-Reviewing.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Easy

Actually Barry, we did load the launch day patch - it was mandatory. And where have I once complained in this review that there are slow loading times? Maybe very briefly about WipEout in the game piece, but the patch did nothing to noticeably speed things up there, I was playing it this morning, so I would have noticed.

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WTF?

Re: Easy

If you think Reg Hardware's reviews are sloppy why the hell are you reading them and commenting? Seriously, do you think the rest of us give a toss what you think?

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FAIL

Re: Re: Easy

http://www.theaveragegamer.com/2012/02/16/wipeout-2048-patch-drastically-improves-loading-times-and-adds-more-music/

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Happy

@jai

Yes, loading in WipEout sucks and had me boggled and angry. Downloading a (1st of many??)patch knocked about 25% off the time to load each race but it's still bastard annoying - but hey, it is eye-meltingly HD!!

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I don't care how good it is (and I'm sure it's awesome), £230 is far too much money for a hand-held games console.

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£500 is far too much for an internet tablet but people are buying them in droves!

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Silver badge

I'm really sick of seeing this bollocks about the price. Consider this; very few people on this site complain about the latest and greatest smartphones costing in excess of £400. If people are willing to pay that much for a phone it's not because of it's ability to make calls (they could quite easily get a decent phone for a tenner if all they cared about was call quality). The reason people are buying these smartphones is for their ability to play music, movies, games and browse the web. The Vita is better specced than these phones, has dedicated gaming controls and is half the price.

If the Vita made phone calls you'd be calling it the bargain of the century. There's no pleasing some people.

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Don't give a damn really about the console, sort of thing I might buy on an impulse at the airport and use twice afterwards. I always like the idea more than the reality.

However, the vulture in the pic is awesome and should be a staple photo by which all cameras are tested on el Reg, much better than the red postbox standard pic.

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Please wait...

I watched a long video review (45 mins roughly) and the thing that stood out to me was how often the words "Please wait..." popped up during use. This is a device with a quad-core CPU, why is it taking so long to do things? Then I noticed the specs. which listed 512MB RAM... DAMNIT SONY! I have an 18 month phone with 768MB RAM, three year old phones have 512MB RAM. If this is supposed to have a 10 years in it you should have included at least 1GB RAM and 256MB for the GPU.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Please wait...

OK, i'll keep it simple, as clearly you don't get it.

Vita is not a phone, it's not a PC either, and everything you think you know about stuff goes out the window.

Whats important is the SPEED of the memory in the Vita, not the quantity, a properly coded game will be spewing out textures fast enough to not need vast quantities of memory...

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Bronze badge

Re: Re: Please wait...

Ahh that's right! The speed made the "Please wait..." loading screens appear. Wait, what? You claim I don't get it but missed that part I take it. I know the PS Vita isn't a phone or a PC but it runs an OS, it has RAM, GPU, CPU and....... loading times.

RAM speed is important but quantity is just as important for a device that is supposed to have a 10 year plan. How can you justify only including 512MB when RAM price is so low? Would the extra 512MB really have pushed the price that much higher? We're talking DDR2, not DDR3. I know it isn't a PC part but if a three year old phone can have that much I would hope that a brand new, quad-core etc etc gaming device would have at least 1GB since.

Newer Android phones are coming with as standard. I'm not saying Android phones are the thing to measure against, I'm using them to prove that it isn't that big a stretch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Re: Re: Please wait...

Vita uses Rambus's Mobile XDR memory, not your stuff you fit in your PC. Your assumptions on additional cost are flawed.

Mobile XDR gives 17GB/s (about 3x that of regular PC DDR3 memory).

Which is why less is more. Less but faster memory is better in this case, than more slower memory.

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Give it up with Flash already

It's dead. Adobe killed it off and it won't be coming back. So stop claiming it's needed.

Flash on mobiles is dead and good riddance.

As for the Vita... first portable that I'm considering buying in the normal lifetime and not at the end of the life(like I did with gba/ds).

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The price of the memory ...

... is gouging, plain and simple.

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Facepalm

meh!

The reason that games load slow... and the reason memory cards are so expensive can be summed up in one word! Freetards!

Freetards did their best to ruin the PSP with homebrew and illegal iso files.

So Sony had to go the extra mile to try to make sure piracy isn't such an issue, that way they can snag all the best developers without fear of their games being ripped off.

I picked up a 3G Vita on release day, and safe to say its the best portable console I've had (I have a 3DS and PSP still in regular use).

Price seems to be a sore point with everyone, yes its expensive, the 3G was actually more than £100 more expensive than the Morrisons bought PS3 I just got. But once you've used the device you'll realise where the money has been spent.

Once Sony master remote play for PS3 games onto the Vita and it better happen this time (not like the partial remote play we currently have, that was put in place for PSP originally) the Vita will become the killer portable handheld we've all been waiting for.

Oh and the pictures in this article clearly point to the 3G model being reviewed, I challenge you to get more than 3 hours of gameplay, minimum brightness (which is fine indoors), sound on, bluetooth off and 3G switched on.... ;-)

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Meh

jack of all trades

Its like that episode of The Simpsons when Homer designs a car- they've just put everything on it. Its like they've got no idea what they actually want to do with it and just making the same psp mistakes(i love my 2000 series btw). For all its features there's not a single game that interests me though, yet...

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Happy

@David

...erm, well, FFX is due out later this year, and frankly I'll be needing new undies on the day. Also some decent(ish) easter games are on the way. Yes, you are right, no 'killer' game perhaps, 'cept Wipeout, *yet* - but 'twas the same for PSP & I now have an army of awsome JRPGs for that, plus excellent 3rd-gen platformers (3rd gen of PSP game coding that is).

So many of us have our eyes on the horizon, game-wise. So why spank all that cash up the wall now rather than later? Dunno really, bit of a fanboi I guess... but I'm not yet suffering buyer's remorse, so it's alllll good!

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Awful name

Did anyone else see the ads for the PSVita and think it was about a new brand of diet crispbread?

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It's worth the money

It's very slick.

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Happy

It’s surprisingly good

“but a reliance on the display for navigating the UI is unnecessary”

To clarify, the Vita’s OS does not use the hardware buttons AT ALL... which is a bit like running an Android app on the Desire Z and finding it ignores the hardware keyboard. Minecraft PE I’m looking at you.

It’s a terrible mistake and a very bad bit of UI design – you cannot even move the text cursor using the D-pad! This needs to be fixed. Jabbing at the screen to try and move the cursor a few pixels to the left is a ridiculous encumbrance when the device is loaded with HCI hardware.

As for the “overpriced memory cards” are you sure you’re not comparing apples with oranges?

Sony Vita 16GB memory card at Play.com £39.99

Sony PSP 16GB pro duo mark 2 at Play.com £48.99

So if you’re saying that Sony stuff is more expensive than cheaper brands, you’re right. But as a Sony memory card the Vita is not particularly expensive. Do we want third-party memory cards on the Vita? My considered response, having suffered a fake Pro Duo and having witnessed the impact piracy had on the PSP, is no. I bought a 16GB on launch day, I won’t need to buy another. So be it.

BTW Having lamented the poor functionality of the non-game apps compared to a phone (apart from Flickr, which is very good indeed), and immediately wished the Vita ran Android, I realised that the non-game functionality has to be merely competent, but not good enough to sell the Vita on their own. Otherwise non-gamers might buy it, and Sony won’t claw back the game profits.

It’s a shame though. The Twitter application in particular needs fixing – there’s no point clicking a link because the browser probably won’t display the page right and then Twitter will have forgotten where you were in the feed.

It’s early days, I’m hoping for a lot more to come. In fact I was so impressed that if you could stick Warhawk and Skyrim on it I could lose the PS3 entirely.

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Good lord

Another proprietary memory card. Thanks Sony!

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Stop

Re: Good lord

I don't recall everyone companining when Nintendo did their proprietary memory cards (cartridges).

I will explain how it work.

The Vita accepts store bought games on memory card, and downloadable games onto bought memory cards.

Sony were forced to use their own proprietary memory card because they needed to add copy protection mechanims to the store bought games, and SD did not allow that (without making it a non-standard SD format, something they would have also got beaten up over)., If you want to get technical, there is a revised version of Sony's MagicGate card encryption going on there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagicGate

If Sony had used SD Cards as you wish, how would they prevent people simply copying them???

Don't think of it as a memory card, think of it as a game cartridge, but one that you can also buy a blank version of so you can download your PSN bought games.

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Anonymous Coward

Let's talk about a real issue atm as opposed to the price bollocks, which nobody cares about except people that wont pay the price in which case you aren't in the target range for the opening round anyway or you're living in a fantasy land.

A real issue at the moment is np-2244-2

Which mean while I can pay off my credit card with my debit card (this is what I did to check my bank hadn't blocked my debit card) I am unable to pay for PSN games or wallet top ups. Meaning I can't buy Fate or Blazeblue without having a physical psn voucher to top up my account...

I was perfectly able to buy games yesterday (corpse party / doa paradise / persona) today though - no dice. Either from the device or the site. So it's almost certainly yet another psn problem. le sigh.

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Anonymous Coward

Further to my issue seems they've finally decided there's something a bit retarded going on

http://community.us.playstation.com/thread/4671509?start=0&tstart=0

Seems if you dare buy too many games in a short span of time they lock your payment facility.

----ing idiots

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