Memory cards at the ready for PS Vita 3.5GB Uncharted: Golden Abyss download

When PlayStation Vita launches next month, one item that every gamer is going to need to buy for storing PSN downloads, game saves and personal media, is Sony’s new proprietary memory card.

PS Vita does not come equipped with internal storage, so you’ll need to buy a memory card with your unit, which will be available in various sizes ranging from 4GB to 32GB. You can, of course, buy physical copies of PS Vita games from stores and opt for a lower priced memory card, but by taking advantage of the PlayStation Store you’ll save yourself a few pennies as games are certain to be a little cheaper without the fancy packaging and distribution costs to worry about.

Well, that’s what we thought. But it appears that, in the long term, those who download via the PlayStation Store will still be hit in the pocket in a round-a-bout way. Our European PS Vita unit arrived earlier this week and Uncharted 3: Golden Abyss weighs in with a hefty 3.38GB download. In fact, the six games that we have picked up from the PlayStation Store are going to take a whopping 900 minutes to download and fill up our 16GB memory card significantly even before the official launch and the numerous third-party Vita games we plan to download.

That means our 16GB card, which will cost £39.99 to buy at launch, is only going to host a handful of quality games before we’re forced to either buy an additional memory card, or purchase physical copies, which will be sold at a premium price. In Japan, reports state that copies in store are approximately 20% more expensive than from the PlayStation Store. We currently don’t know Sony’s plans for the U.S. and U.K., but we’d guess they’ll be a similar premium to pay.

Of course this is all a great way of earning Sony some extra cash after selling PS Vita, and can we really blame them trying to recuperate hardware costs after losing out so heavily each time a PS3 unit is sold?

We’d suggest then, unless you really do like buying physical copies of the games and don’t want to take advantage of the convenience and lower price of the PlayStation Store, that all you upcoming PS Vita owners bag yourself the biggest card you can get your hands on.

Ah, but there’s a slight problem. In Europe, the largest memory card you can buy (32GB) will not be available at launch for some bizarre reason, so gamers will have no choice but to opt for the 16GB card. In the U.S., GameStop has the 32GB card available priced at $99.99. This PS Vita gaming isn’t cheap you know.

For those who buy a lot of games and want the convenience of digital downloads, you can expect to dish out a fair amount of cash on memory cards over the life cycle of PS Vita. It wouldn’t have been too much to give us a little bit of internal storage on PS Vita for game saves, would it? Hopefully, it will all be worth it.

We’ll have a full European PS Vita review next week. Keep them peeled. It’s going to be very interesting.