One of the biggest hidden costs of picking up Sony's new Vita handheld is the need to acquire a new proprietary memory card. Whereas the PSP Go had 16GB of storage built-in, the Vita comes with nothing. And, unlike the PSP, which used the slightly more open Memory Stick format, the Vita uses a completely proprietary memory card.
Sony has been shy about pricing these cards, which range from 4GB to 32GB. However, new entries on GameStop's website give us a first look at what to expect.
Anger over these prices will undoubtedly be palpable. The listed prices represent nearly a 300% markup over Memory Stick, and a 600% markup over SD cards, for equivalently sized offerings. By placing such a high premium on Vita's memory, Sony is taking a page from Microsoft's successful marketing of proprietary Xbox 360 hard drives. Like the Xbox 360, Vita doesn't require additional memory, but many core features, like downloading games, will be unavailable without the extra purchase.
The Vita "First Edition" bundle, which launches one week before the "official" Vita launch, includes a 4GB memory card. The $350 bundle includes a 3G system, a bundled game, and additional accessories.