TGS 2011: PS Vita battery to offer 3-5 hours of gameplay, memory sticks priced

Sony’s handheld wiggles its Achilles’ heel

Whenever a new handheld is announced, three questions immediately come to mind: what games are going to come out for it, how much is it going to cost, and how long will the battery life be? For the Vita, the answers to the first two came earlier this year at E3, where Sony announced a $250 price and a slew of games. The third, however, has been a mystery: until now. In a document released after their Tokyo Game Show press conference, Sony has revealed more of the Vita’s secrets, including the battery life and memory cost.

According to the document, the battery will last approximately 3-5 hours when the screen brightness is at the default setting, the Bluetooth is off, and headphones are plugged in. Video playback is slightly better at five hours, while music (when used in stand-by mode) will play for nine hours before the battery gives out. This, obviously, can be influenced by the 3G/Wi-Fi, which we’re assuming are also off in this estimate. Sony’s numbers are almost identical to Nintendo’s for the 3DS when all of the settings are on, meaning that both consoles will be on a level playing field when it comes to battery woes.

More disheartening is the lack of internal storage on the Vita, and the use of proprietary cards. Sony says that while some games will be able to save on the Vita’s game cards, others will need users to shell out a little extra money to save their games or download additional content. Here’s the list of cards that will be available, as well as their price in yen (and a conversion to dollars).

  • 4GB - ¥2,200 ($28.67)
  • 8GB - ¥3,200 ($41.71)
  • 16GB - ¥5,500 ($71.69)
  • 32GB - ¥9,500 ($123.84)

Considering how hard Sony is pushing the Vita in a tablet-like direction, the lack of internal storage is somewhat strange, though there’s always a chance that it will ship with one included when it makes its way over to the US. Otherwise we might as well tack on an additional purchase of at least $30 to the system’s cost, because Vita without any storage just seems like a bad idea.

It also helps make the 3DS look like even a better deal, because besides being almost $100 cheaper, it comes with a 2GB memory card, and uses the standard SD Card that you likely have sticking out of your phone, camera, and other portable media devices. Then again, it’s about the games, and the Vita looks like it’s going to pack some heat in that all-important department.

If you’re interested in more you can check out the official press release, located here.

Sept 15, 2011


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