Vita memory cards offer more 'security,' can't be used as mass storage device

Why did Sony step away from open memory formats for the Vita? One developer cites security as a reason.


In many ways, Sony's new memory format for Vita seems like a step backwards. The pricey cards are a proprietary format exclusively for Vita--an odd step when you consider the PSP used the slightly more open Memory Stick format. So why did Sony change its tone for the Vita? One developer cites security as a reason.

Sony Division 2 Software Development Head Muneki Shimada said that they needed a format with "guaranteed performance," as the read/write speeds of cards across multiple formats and publishers can vary. By sticking with the proprietary route, Sony could "ensure the security" of the platform.

The PSP was plagued by rampant piracy, so Sony's attempt at making a more secure memory format from the get-go seems understandable. (However, that doesn't make the pricing any more acceptable.)

Vita's memory card can't be used as "mass storage" on a PC either. Whereas the PSP let you connect it to any computer to freely add whatever files you wanted to it, you'll have to go through a proprietary content management program. This downloadable utility is required in order to manage the contents of the Vita memory card. (PS3 firmware 4.00 also adds a Vita-compatible file browser.)

Sony hopes that by having an intermediary program, managing information on the Vita will not only be more secure, but easier to use. "You do not need to remember which folder contains data on the memory card," Shimada told Impress Watch (via Andriasang). The PSP used a rather cumbersome folder structure, which made using the PSP as a media device especially cumbersome.

Perhaps one of the few bright sides to Sony's switch to a proprietary media format is the addition of Mac support. While you could use a PSP as a mass storage device on a Mac, Sony never released an Apple version of its Media Manager software, meaning access to the PlayStation Store was extremely limited for Mac owners. Vita's Content Management Software Assistant will not only be available on PS3 and Windows, but a Mac version will also be available.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 2, 2011 7:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Vita memory cards offer more 'security,' can't be used as mass storage device.

    Why did Sony step away from open memory formats for the Vita? One developer cites security as a reason.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 7:14 AM

      "Sony" and "proprietary media" are synonymous in my book. I would expect nothing less from them.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 7:17 AM

      The pirates are still going to crack the system within months. Sucks that we get fucked in the ass ($120 for a 32 gig memory stick) because of these 'security measures'.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 7:22 AM

      Pay more, get less. Sounds about right for sony..... i am looking forward to the vita less and less.

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 8:29 AM

        Pay more, get less. Sounds about right for sony Apple.....

        • reply
          December 2, 2011 8:55 AM

          No no, Pay more, still get hacked nine ways from Sunday.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 7:30 AM

      So what's the over/under on how long it takes for this "secure" proprietary format to be pried open? I give it a week.

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 8:26 AM

        I give it at best a few hours. Sony is a complete failure at software lately.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 8:01 AM

      And... pre order cancelled.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 8:13 AM

      So we wait til someone makes a micro-SD adapter for it?

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 8:59 AM

        Yeah, I love it when a "proprietary format" is just a standard format with only the pinout changed.

        Remember the CueCat barcode scanner? The company claimed DMCA violations because their "encoding scheme" was being "circumvented", when all that it was was Base64 XOR'd. And then hackers found that you could make the scanner output plaintext by using a garbage bag twist-tie to lift one pin to +5 volts?

        I saw on Joystiq that the EFF is pushing for a DMCA amendment to allow non-copyright-violating console modding.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 8:28 AM

      "The PSP used a rather cumbersome folder structure"

      EVERY sony device uses a cumbersome folder structure. Its like they hate their own users its that bad. Good luck getting a Sony TV to play videos from a USB stick, you have to format the sticks folders to match their crazy layout.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 9:13 AM

      The point is that sony can't just lay down and allow piracy to run rampent.they have to protect their interests and they have to have a memory card that will have fast read and write speeds. Also the prices will come down after a couple of months so no big deal for me and to the moron who said he canceled his preorder because of this, I say good, that's one less whinning little b#tch I have to deal with online whe

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 9:58 AM

        fanboi much?

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 11:13 AM

        They also apparently have to protect their interests in selling 200% markup accessories. They could've just used standard SDHC cards with an encrypted filesystem, but no, they had to make a classic Sony consumer electronics move.

        This is reverting back to the PS1 / N64 days of expensive proprietary memory cards; they should've gone full hog and defined them as storing X amount of "blocks" or "units" insstead of bytes. In comparison, the PS3 looks open and inviting with USB flash storage interchange on FAT32 and allowing almost any 2.5" SATA hard drive to be installed.

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 9:50 PM

        This is not the only path available, but it is one of the worst they could choose. Also, are you seriously saying that less people buying a Vita + games would be a good thing?

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 11:12 AM

      i was thinking of buying a vita at or near release, but with the exorbitant pricing reveal of these memory cards there is no way ill be able to justify to myself the cost of the machine + a big enough memory card to suit me. ill be waiting for a bundle or prices to drop.

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        December 2, 2011 11:15 AM

        Agreed. I wasn't in the market, but I thought the Vita would be a nice "non-casual" platform, but this ruins it. It's one step away from a PSPgo, only more annoyingly expensive with mandatory proprietary memory cards.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 3:09 PM

      The cost of a standard 32 gig SD micro card isn't that much lower than this new format. It cracks me up everyone crying over it, Sony's probably the only company that can develop new media formats to take advantage of newer hardware for better speeds. This is just fine in my book for a system that only costs $235 with all this hardware in it...

      • reply
        December 2, 2011 8:47 PM

        32 GB micro-SD is $35 compared to Sony's $119. That's a lot lower.

        • reply
          December 3, 2011 12:44 AM

          To be fair it probably will be really slow. Still, you can get a really fast 32GB SD card for $80. $40 difference assuming Sony's will be just as fast.

    • reply
      December 2, 2011 6:49 PM

      Wow this is too much people. We are talking about 10.00 to 15.00(if that much) more than a sd micro. Also the prices that news sources have been quoting were from the gamestop website which had posted the wrong prices and sony had to contact gamestop to get them to post the right price which isn't that expensive. I'm starting to wonder if these complaints are for real, do you all seriously think the prices are that big of a deal?

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        December 2, 2011 7:47 PM

        I'd rather spend that $10-$15 on a game.

    • reply
      December 3, 2011 9:38 AM

      who here is buying this thing? I know of no one in my life getting one.

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