PlayStation Vita Buyer’s Guide

February 15, 2012Written by Nick Michetti

Backwards Compatibility

The PlayStation Vita has no compatibility with UMD whatsoever at this time and Sony has announced that they will not be bringing the UMD Passport Program — which enables gamers to download digital versions of their UMD games at discounted prices — to North America. Europe’s status for this program remains TBA at this point. Vita is compatible with PSP titles downloaded digitally from the PlayStation Store, but not all of them at this point. Vita-compatible PSP games can be directly downloaded to Vita via Wi-Fi or PS3 Content Manager transfer (see below).

To check the PSP titles currently compatible with Vita, check the list here. Also, keep in mind that users may encounter difficulties by the number of consoles they’ve activated.

The PlayStation Vita is also not PSOne Classic or “Game Archive” enabled yet, which means that the system cannot yet play PSOne Classics or classic titles from other systems yet. Compatibility is coming in the future, though.

Content Management & Save Backup

Via the Content Manager program, Vita can transfer and backup Vita data to the PlayStation 3, Windows PC, or Apple Mac platforms. Vita games or Vita-compatible PSP games downloaded on the PlayStation 3 can be transferred to the Vita as well.

Vita Memory Cards, Saving, & Game Access

Vita Memory Cards come in 4 different data capacities:

  • 4GB – $19.99
  • 8GB – $29.99
  • 16GB – $59.99
  • 32GB – $99.99

Many PlayStation Vita titles do require a Memory Card for saving and some of those titles even require a PlayStation Vita Memory Card to be inserted into the unit in order to play those titles. Vita titles that require a Memory Card usually have an icon on the front of the box art to indicate how much space they require. However, some PlayStation Vita titles do have on-board storage for saves and do not require a Memory Card.

Vita Memory Cards are proprietary, meaning that no other Memory Card can be used for saving purposes.

Buying Digitally, Discounts, & Ideal Memory Card Sizes

All PlayStation Vita titles are said to arrive on the PlayStation Store digitally at the same time as their retail counterparts and will have a 10% discount compared to retail. Gamers who plan on buying digitally should make their purchases via PSN cards for maximum safety and purchase a Memory Card that is no less than 8GB, although we recommend a 16GB minimum if possible. Many of the games available on the PlayStation Store for Vita are already over 1GB, with Uncharted: Golden Abyss requiring 3.2GB of space.


Gamers looking to keep their Vitas safe may want to invest in some kind of case for the handheld. First Edition Bundle owners are already receiving a case, but everyone else may want to look at the PlayStation Vita Travel Pouch ($19.99), a zipper case with a soft, resistant outer shell and textured neoprene inner liner. The Vita Travel Pouch has storage for a Vita, 2 accessories, and four slots for game card storage. Pictures on show the device comfortably holding the unit’s AC adapter and a USB cable, a plus for gamers who are on the go.

HORI has also made some hard cases ($14.99, available in black and blue) for the Vita that have one Carbiner, in addition to storage for a Vita and 2 game cards.

The Vita’s touch screen will be seeing plenty of action, so gamers may want to invest in protective film for the handheld, which is available in Sony two-packs for $9.99.

Gamers looking for more accessories may want to consider the PlayStation Vita Starter Kit ($39.99), which comes with a 4GB Memory Card, Vita Pocket Pouch (a Vita version of the soft case that was bundled with PSPs), protective film, a clamshell card case (with storage for up to 8 games and 2 Memory Cards), headphones, and a cleaning cloth.

Separately, the card case retails for $5.99. The headset — which may or may not be the same as the headphones, but seems at least similar — retails for $19.99.

The Vita comes with a USB cable standard, as it’s used with the AC adapter for charging, but if you need an extra one, they retail for $14.99. Gamers who need another AC adapter can purchase one for $14.99.

Are you picking up a PlayStation Vita? Let us know in the comments below!

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