PS Vita: Sony Promises Larger Memory Cards Are Inbound

Sony's UK & Ireland VP & Managing Director Fergal Gara talks the potential for larger storage cards and the issues of price and DLC for the Vita.

At the launch of the new handheld, Sony Computer Entertainment UK & Ireland VP & Managing Director Fergal Gara spoke to Eurogamer, with the issues of console price, game price, and memory cards firmly on the table. And some of the head honcho's responses threw up some interesting information, not least about the company's intention to make larger memory cards available in the near future.
EG: You've made all games available to download, but memory cards will fill up very quickly, forcing gamers to consider forking out for a new one.Fergal Gara: It's a very good point, and we've already learnt from the early days in Japan that we probably haven't got big enough memory cards introduced for the UK market. We've already gone to secure bigger size cards to bring them into the UK market. It's early days. Before it comes to market you just have to guess what people are going to want. We thought they'd want a lot of 4GB cards just as the minimum, and then they buy packaged media. But actually, the way it's going is, many of the early adopters are clearly going to download a bit more, or just want to buy the big chip in case. It's going to evolve. But we can certainly see they want bigger cards.
They're certainly necessary. Even the largest storage card of 16G simply does not offer enough space for a memory card when the whole culture of the console is geared towards downloading and buying apps and games online (and the 32G option isn't available to Europeans just yet for some reason) - all of which will require storage, and though Sony will no doubt revel for a while in the knowledge that serious gamers will be forced to buy multiple cards if they are to view the system as the first step in the move to download only retail. At this stage, exactly whether Sony see the Vita as that first step remains somewhat unclear, based on Gara's thoughts anyway. When asked, based on the odd contradiction that download games are the same price as retail copies, whether Sony was trying to market the Vita as an iPod for games, or not, Gara came up with the following:
Not necessarily. We just want a vibrant marketplace where consumers buy lots of PS Vitas and consume vast amounts of software on the back of it. How they get to that product is an interesting question. We'd like to see stores like this still able to compete and still able to sell loads of product. But equally, if digital is the way consumers want to go, we've got to be relevant to those consumption needs, don't we? It's certainly happened harder and faster in music, with some good reasons - the file sizes are tiny by comparison. But we see digital having a bigger role in PS Vita than it does certainly for the core games themselves on PS3, where there's a digital market, but it's predominantly additional DLC based.
Sony really need to get their message clear if they are to make the Vita as successful as the technology deserves - as a handheld console, it is a phenomenal achievement, completely reinvigorating the marketplace and establishing a proper competitor for the 3DS, but as long as Sony stand by a fallacy that they are trying to directly compete with tablets and mobile gaming, or that they want to make Vita a predominantly DLC based system while contradicting themselves with price-points and inflated RRPs of around £45 the system won't realise its potential. All pulling in the right direction will make a difference, and the reality is that Sony don't need to make excuses. The Vita is an outstanding system - albeit one undermined slightly by storage issues - and it is of such high quality that noone should be complaining about the price on launch. Do you have a Vita? What do you think? Let us know below.

WhatCulture's former COO, veteran writer and editor.