Sony forgot to mention one of Vita firmware update 1.80’s features.
Sony has been quick to remind us that Vita firmware update 1.80 makes the handheld compatible with a handful of PSOne Classics; though no one’s entirely sure which games have been made compatible. However, Sony’s many press releases failed to mention one other feature included in the new firmware: It ties Vita memory cards to specific PSN (or SEN, if you prefer) accounts.
This means gamers with content from multiple accounts will have to either buy another memory card – which start at $19.99 for 4GB – or lose their data. To link a card to another PSN account, you now have to format it.
Before the update, it was possible to switch PSN accounts by “restoring” the system. It was cumbersome, and perhaps unintentional on Sony’s part, but it made life easier for players with multiple PSN accounts or families who share a Vita.
Sony’s habit of restricting digital content to particular regions doesn’t endear the company to gamers with a taste for Japanese titles, or the occasional European exclusive, but it was tolerated because signing up for a Japanese PSN account is trivially easy (though I should point out that falsifying your address breaks PSN’s TOS and may be illegal depending on where you live).
This update is either Sony’s first attempt to crack down on region-hopping gamers, or a callous attempt to sell more memory cards to a trapped market. Either way, it certainly doesn’t make the struggling handheld seem any more appealing.