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!

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Kyle Wakeling is the Editor in Chief and Jack of all trades here at The Vita Lounge. A long time gamer and aspiring writer, he's just hoping to spread the word of PlayStation Vita to the darkest corners of the internet - and beyond.
  • giancian

    Great article, and a million thanks for clearing up the “Use Wifi in Power Save Mode check box” mystery. I’ve unchecked it, and I hope it helps me not having to babysit every download from now on!

  • Yoyitsu

    I’ve had the Vita for 3 years now, and I can’t believe I didn’t know about this: “The strange wording of the “Use Wifi in Power Save Mode” check box.”. I literally cannot thank you enough for sharing this with the community!

    • Natsu Dragneel

      Took me like 5 hours of research last year to figure it out because it bothered me that my 3ds could download in sleepmode without issue but vita had issues and downloaded like a slug lol

    • Uzair Syed

      Same. I know practically everything about the Vita and this came as a surprise to me!

  • otaku_no_bfm

    The fact that I get notifications when they are turned off is annoying! Also unchecked the WiFi power save. Lol Sony!

  • Zero Eternity

    Thank you for explaining that Wifi in power save mode box because I didn’t know that.

  • Fr33Kingdom

    I swear just when i’d mostly let go of what a bad job sony did in positioning and selling the vita i almost get pulled back in.

    Lists like this are nice. I know they are all over the internet but some good lists like these might drive more traffic to an already great site.

  • p_cardoso

    I also couldn’t believe when I first heard about the mixed wording of the WiFi setting! It’s just… mind boggling.

    This is a very good list, every single point on the top 10 is a relevant one. It pisses me that Sony doesn’t seem to care about these issues and also fails to “tune” into market demands.

    I curate Vita news on a daily basis (this very site is one of my favourite sources ^^) and there are some things I’d do immediatly, if I was at Sony’s shoes:

    1. Develop a Vita-3000, shaped as a Dualshock4. Go all the way, keep size restriction to the minimum – players will always have the first two models if they crave the portability. Instead of doing a price cut, invest on keeping the features we already have, but add the Dualshock4 form factor for a 1:1 PSOne, PS Now and PS4 Remote Play experiences.

    2. Significantly reduce memory card prices. So much people loses or delay interest in a Vita because of this… I can’t really believe that Sony got the memo. I know, they make a good profit on them, they are a business and all that jazz, but aren’t they losing MORE money by failing to grab all those potential customers that don’t buy the console because of those outrageous prices?

    3. Market it as an evergreen gaming device. Seriously, this console is already awesome for those who know its “secrets”. It has access to different generations of games and for someone like me who was born on the late 80s, it is truly a dream machine. Playing Final Fantasy 1 to 10, Metal Gear 1-2-3, the first two God of War games from PS2, Jet Set Radio from my Dreamcast days, Patapon from PSP. You could build and market an handheld today just with some of these gems from the past decades that it would drive a lot of interest with gamers from the 80s, 90s and 00s. Add all the JRPG/indies goodness of native titles, as well as the odd AAA title (Tearaway, Gravity Rush, etc) and you have a MONSTER of a catalog. How do you let gamers perceive this scenario has a console that “has no games”? It’s beyond me.

    Seriously,it’s all in place for Sony to have a much more desired device in the market. It has the games. It (almost) has the form factor. It has memory cards with the required size, but awful pricing. Sony just needs to flip the switch…

    • One very annoying point about the new PS Vita 2000 also called Slim is the AVLS is switching on automatically after 20 hours of audio listening, limiting the sound to 60% of the output capacity.

      You have to go to the Vita settings to turn it off by unchecking the box.

      When playing solo it is ok, you can pause the game and go to the setting to turn it off, but when playing in a multiplayer session, you can not put the game on pause to go to the settings, because it will break the connection to the multiplayer session, and so you have to listen carefully to the lowered game’s sounds and other player’s voices.

      This feature does not exists on the PS Vita 1000 / FAT model.

      I wish that Sony Playstation will remove this useless feature in a future system update.

      As there is more people with FAT than Slim, I feel lonely with this issue and wonder if it will be taken into consideration sooner or never.

  • Lester Paredes

    I had no idea about the WiFi. Well, let’s go uncheck that box.

  • BoyBigEyes

    So… my Oled Vita have 1GB too?… WTF Sony?!?

    • brandon9271

      That seems like a typo to me. The way it’s worded it sounds like he means the slim model has 1GB internal but then he says its the OLED.. the slim model doesn’t have an OLED. That’s the fat model. The slim model has an LCD. Soooo.. yeah..

      • It’s not a typo.

        The OLED has the same flash chip as the PlayStation TV, which has 1GB of internal memory. That means the OLED has it too, it’s just been disabled by the firmware for that model (likely to make you buy a memory card at launch).

        The Slim has that 1GB of internal memory, but IIRC it also uses a different chip, and has nothing to do with what I was saying.

        • brandon9271

          Ahh ok..because the 1000 model vitas dont seem to have access to the 1GB regardless of whether you have a memory card. The latest release notes for Henkaku say they support internal memory on the Vita TV and the slim but not the OLED which led me to believe that OLED didnt have 1gb of flash like the rest, otherwise these genius hackers would’ve utilized it.

          • They probably have no idea, hence its inclusion in a “confusing truths” lists.

            Also, “genius hackers” made me laugh.

          • brandon9271

            Yeah, i was being facetious 🙂 still, cracking the Vita is no small feat.

  • Karl Smith

    Very great article. A another thing that I hate are the useless hint notifications and the mandatory AVLS setting which doesn’t stay off. But you can switch it off but then switches back on once you turn it off or leave it for few hour. Tbh I think Sony have messed up their own handheld. No themes, no apps, no AAA style titles, constant delays and cancellations, no marketing, nothing. It’s just a mere brick being outsold to Smart Devices and even Nintendo’s 3DS.

  • Nonscpo

    Great list and great article Kyle, and I agree, Sony needs to advertise the hell out of this device; not that they will.

  • the-dragon-bane

    Great list. I still wonder what that mystery port was meant for. I guess we’ll never know.

  • Reza Gerami

    You pretty muched covered’em but honestly I am more frustrated about the control scheme in many Vita games and the lack of ability to configure these. There are so many games which would’ve played better using the d-pad rather than a thumb stick for movement.

  • Silithas

    What about the hard sad truth about the overpriced memory cards? Over here it’s 120 bucks for a 32GB… a micro sdcard with 42MB’s read speed and 120GB of storage costs the exact same.. The hell sony?

    • Memory card prices are a necessary evil, as they take on almost the full cost of Sony’s DRM solution. Basically, instead of offering a hardcore unique software DRM solution on every title you download to your Vita, they’ve gone for a hardware option and standard encryption – reducing game prices (that why they cap around $40) but making the memory card more expensive as it’s custom.

      While memory card prices do “suck” from a buyer standpoint, I’d much rather an $80 purchase of a 64GB once in the console’s life than all the games releasing getting a few extra dollars tacked on for software DRM research, development, and implementation.

      • Psycho Punch

        I’ve never think about it that way. I could understand that it makes games cheaper, but didn’t that approach made it impossible to switch accounts on the system?

        • A software setting made it hard to switch accounts, nothing else. Prior to firmware 1.80 you could switch accounts by switching memory cards (no format/restore needed) but they changed it and now we have to jump through hoops.

          • Psycho Punch

            Prior to firmware 1.80 you could switch accounts by switching memory cards (no format/restore needed)…

            I think I should have said “almost impossible to switch accounts”. In any case, I think my point still stands. It was probably that approach to embed DRM in each of memory card that necessitated the earlier method of switching accounts by switching cards. It’s just even worse now.

  • Robert Backland

    Great article. The ‘Use Wifi in Power Save Mode’ is a real mind bender.

  • chizwoz

    My most confusing truth is why can I never seem to catch Thomas Was Alone on sale?

    • It’s been on sale a few times, and actually launched on PS Plus.

  • Tom van Aken

    Another annoying issue is the playstation store in the vita. It’s extremely awful to navigate (as there’s no different way of ordering things, A-Z, Z-A, on price etc.), and not even all the dlc that I can find on my pc is on there! It changes, even. A while ago, you could’ve searched Senran Kagura, and find both the Bon Appetit as well as the Shinovi Versus dlc, now the SV dlc is not to be found on the Vita store anymore. Go on your pc, and well, there it is.

    Weird shit.

  • Lorenzo Samaniego

    Nice article Kyle!

  • One very annoying point about the new PS Vita 2000 also called Slim is the AVLS (Automatic Volume Limiting System) that is switching on automatically after 20 hours of audio listening, limiting the sound to 60% of the output capacity.

    You have to go to the Vita settings to turn it off by unchecking the box.

    When playing solo it is ok, you can pause the game and go to the setting to turn it off, but when playing in a multiplayer session, you can not put the game on pause to go to the settings, because it will break the connection to the multiplayer session, and so you have to listen carefully to the lowered game’s sounds and other player’s voices.

    This feature does not exists on the PS Vita 1000 / FAT model.

    I wish that Sony Playstation will remove this useless feature in a future system update.

    As there is more people with FAT than Slim, I feel lonely with this issue and wonder if it will be taken into consideration sooner or later or never.

    • Britta Stabenow

      I’ve got the original FAT Vita and AVLS in enabled by default. Every time I boot up, I have to go into Settings to switch it off. Very annoying. I’m assuming it’s one of those obscure ‘health’ issues, where they want to avoid ear drum damage for people using earphones & top volume for hours on end.

  • BonzaiThePenguin

    Two years later, and you’re STILL saving PS Vita owners from losing their minds when trying to download purchased games. Thank you!