There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind who has actually used a PlayStation Vita for an extended period of time; it’s a great handheld console, but at the same time it’s got some weird problems. Most of these problems stem from half-implemented features or support, but in truth they range across the board in both “annoying factor” and cause – and have seemingly been around for a while with no fix or solution showing up.
Well, that’s neither good for consumers nor good for the Vita as a console, so I think it’s time to raise some awareness of the issue with a little attention – don’t you?
Let’s look at ten of the most confusing PlayStation Vita truths (presented in no particular order);
The inability to use more than one account without formatting the system.
The PlayStation Vita may be a portable system, but that doesn’t mean that only one person is going to use it – or on the flip side, that the single use only has a single account. Many users of the PlayStation Network have accounts from different regions (or to try out games), and/or share their system with a family member… and yet since the introduction of firmware 1.80 we’ve been locked out of a simple way to implement multi-user functionality.
First steps toward a solution would be moving back to the accounts are tied to cards stance that the Vita had early in its life, as well as the addition of local user settings being saved to the card as well (such as themes, bubble placement, and anything non-default).
The inability to change to a premium avatar.
The PlayStation Vita may allow for changing your avatar to one of the basic ones included in the PSN’s repertoire, but it doesn’t allow you to choose any others. Premium avatars (including those obtained through “free” downloads of any type) are unavailable to be chosen on Vita, relegating you to choosing one via your PS3 – or bar owning a PS3, being completely shit out of luck.
The Vita needs to be able to look at and choose from premium avatars in the user profile section, it’s a basic functionality that isn’t being offered (and a poor service to customers who buy premium avatars only to not be able to equip them).
The flip flop tendency and disorganization of the PlayStation TV Compatibility List.
The PlayStation TV compatibility list is a fickle and oft bitched about thing. On the one hand, we’re not exactly sure what’s compatible – as Sony doesn’t keep an updated list… and on the other hand, we’re even less sure as they keep changing the “rules”.
Games like Jet Set Radio and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed have gone back and forth between compatible and incompatible depending on what seems to be the change of the wind, as well as others offering functionality in one region but not another (like Duke Nukem 3D, or Monster Monpiece).
With a lack of any official list, many Vita sites (including our own) have relegated to keeping track themselves – a less than elegant solution to say the least, but better than Sony’s offerings for sure.
The quality and quantity of the PlayStation Vita’s marketing and/or advertising.
It’s no secret that PlayStation as a brand is a well known name, and you can utter it in pretty much any circle of people and have someone come out as a player – but what about Vita? Not so much, unfortunately; and part of that isn’t their fault. The PlayStation Vita suffers from a severe lack of public awareness due to poor marketing and advertising on the whole.
Now to really know what I’m talking about, just take your Vita to a public place (the kind where people might actually pay attention to attendees, like a mall) and walk around with it. Hell, do it inside or near the local video game retailer – and just see what kind of reactions you get. More often than not I’m asked “Is that a PSP?”, which only goes to drive home the problem… nobody knows what a Vita even is. That awareness problem I was talking about; it’s definitely not (just) about the games.
Ad-Hoc trophies on Western games.
If you’re a trophy hunter like me (or just happen to trophy collect on your favourite titles), you may have run into something that stopped you in your tracks but wasn’t necessarily “hard” under the right conditions; an ad-hoc trophy (or multiple).
For the uninitiated, an ad-hoc trophy means that you have to get the trophy by completing the task while connected to another PlayStation Vita player locally. As in you both have to be in the same location, with your Vitas, and the same game. Just think about that for a second – you have to be perfectly matched with a local player when nobody even knows what a Vita is or what games it has, and even if they do they’re likely nowhere near you.
I don’t know about you, but that’s asking too much from me – and I think they should just nix them altogether, as I won’t likely be getting a single one (despite my 3000 and counting trophies from the hunt). In the age of connectivity, there’s no reason to limit connections to physical proximity.
The “Mystery Port” (aka; the accessory port).
In all my time with all the consoles I’ve had over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever been witness to the amount of speculation that has surfaced over the PlayStation Vita’s mystery port – or as it’s called in the manual; The Accessory Port.
The PlayStation Vita’s accessory port has been accused of being many things – from a HDMI interface, to an external UMD drive adapter – but the only things that’re for sure right now are that the port uses a modified USB interface, and that it’s disabled in software.
Seeing as how it was removed in the 2000 revision as well as in the PlayStation TV (which uses Vita 1000 hardware as its base), I wouldn’t bet on it getting any use though… there’s not a lot of call for something that only works on a model that’s not even sold in most locations around the world anymore.
The lack of TV-out capability aside from the PlayStation TV (despite the OLED having an upscaler built in).
So we covered this (almost) in the Mystery Port bit, however let’s get a little more specific this time (and broader in some ways as well); the PlayStation Vita can’t output directly to TV, and unless you’re talking about the PlayStation TV, a third party modification, or a developer’s kit… it doesn’t look like it ever will.
Yes, I’m (almost) sorry to burst your bubble but it has to be said – the PlayStation Vita doesn’t support TV out…but it certainly could have.
Now you might be thinking “yes, but anything could have happened” – and you’d be right, but at the same time it’s undeniable that the PlayStation Vita’s original (released) model has a 1080i upscaler built in and unused.
While the upscaler was clearly scrapped in the Slim (PCH-2000) revision, it’s clear they had an intended use for it if they included it in the OLED – so what happened?
We may never know what exactly they were thinking with this one, but one thing’s clear; it’s a missed opportunity.
Disabling the 1GB of internal storage on the OLED model (and on the Slim/TV when a memory card is in).
Speaking of disabled internal features, we’re got another one that’s of pretty big contention to those who know about it – that 1GB of “internal memory” that you can access on the PlayStation Vita Slim and the PlayStation TV. But what’s so bad about giving us 1GB of internal memory to play with? Well, how it’s implemented for starters; it’s disabled but present in the original Vita.
That’s right folks, the memory chips on the OLED Vita and the PlayStation TV are identical (down to the model number), and as such house the same amount of flash memory (storage space). Being that they’re identical, it goes to reason that since the PlayStation TV has that 1GB of internal memory the OLED has it too – but it’s disabled.
While this could be chalked up to things like firmware by those not in the know, the PlayStation TV and Vita share the exact same firmware and use the same amount of space for internal tasks and storage. Something’s not right here.
Oh, and there’s also the issue with not being able to use that 1GB of internal memory with a memory card inserted – like we didn’t have enough space issues already…
The strange wording of the “Use Wifi in Power Save Mode” check box.
The phrase “Use Wifi in Power Save Mode” is the likely cause of millions of headaches as faithful PlayStation Vita users leave it checked and attempt to download something… getting abysmal transfer speeds over horrid quality connections (that are otherwise fine for use with other gadgets). This is because the phrase itself is ambiguous, and instead of taking it for its true meaning – to enable a low power Wifi connection to save battery at the cost of connection quality – people assume it means enabling Wifi during sleep mode.
To be clear; there isn’t a setting for enabling Wifi during sleep mode (or for disabling it), and unchecking that check box will net you a better Wifi connection in nearly every way (aside from a slightly increased drain on battery life).
Do yourself a favour and uncheck it, your Vita and your sanity will thank you.
Those (mostly) useless bubbles you wish you could get rid of.
Welcome Park, Near, Parental Controls, Calendar and Email; all of these are mandatory (read; uninstallable, and unhidable) apps that come with the PlayStation Vita’s current firmware and annoy the hell out of Vita owners everywhere for multiple reasons.
The kicker? It’s completely unnecessary to set up an operating system like that in this day and age.
As long as you have access to the internet, you’ve got access to the PlayStation Store – and from there you could (theoretically) download all those apps if they were available as add-ons. There’s literally no reason to have any of those mandatory (other than Parental Controls – which should actually be ingrained in Settings) and having them included only serves to take resources that could better be used elsewhere.
Making apps that not everyone uses mandatory is a bad idea, and this is a prime case-in-point.
While there are certainly other issues with the Vita, these are (in my opinion) the most confusing as they could be fixed quite easily or addressed very simply – but aren’t, and remain. While we might never know why these issues are being ignored, we can raise awareness for them; and with the Vita community being so vocal and loyal, you never know where that might lead.
How many confusing Vita truths were you aware of? Do you know of any others?
Sound off in the comments below and let us know!