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Vita Starter Guide

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PS Vita, Sony's second handheld and all around nice guy. If you're curious about it, here are some frequently asked questions to help you get started.


1) How much is a Vita?

Sony's official prices are still $250 for the wi-fi only and $350 for the 3G enabled version. However, most major retailers have been having on-and-off deals for Vita with free games, memory cards, or gift cards. If you're patient enough and keep an eye out, you could get a new Vita for a decent price or bundled with some nice extras.


2) Is 3G worth it?

Short story: No.

Long story: The 3G model only comes with two extra things, 3G and a built-in GPS. The wi-fi version can find your position if you have a wi-fi signal, so essentially the only thing different is the 3G. Unfortunately, 3G can't be used for online games, so it's only good for the Vita's browser, social media apps or for watching YouTube on the go. Not only that, but currently AT&T is the only 3G provider for the Vita (if you're in the US), so you're stuck getting their shitty service.

So yeah, not worth the extra $100.


3) Do I need a memory card? How big should I get?

Before answering this question, it should be noted that all retail games are released same-day on the Playstation Network. So going all digital is an option on the Vita. There are still physical copies for Vita games though, if you chose to go bother your local BearStop for your games.

That said, even if you're buying physical, you will need a memory card. Physical games install data onto the memory card, so you'll need it for those games. And if you want to download demos or the YouTube app, you'll need it for that too. Obviously, you'll need one for digital games as well.

How big? Well, it depends on if you're planning to buy games physically or digitally. If you're buying physically, the smallest card (4 gigs) will suffice, although most recommend getting at least the 8 gig card since demos and apps and PSP games can start to add up. If you're buying all of your games digitally, consider this: BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend on Vita is an almost 4 gig game... So yeah, bigger is better. Most vita games are around 1-2 gigs and PSP games are around 600 MB. On that note....


4) Why are the memory cards so expensive?

It's a propetairy format. So, Sony can and does charge out the ass for them. One of the downsides of all digital is that you're gonna get raped on this side of things. Although many digital games are ~$5 cheaper, so you'll save a bit there. But yeah, currently there really isn't an alternative to paying out the ass for the memory cards. Pucker up.


5) Can I play my PSP games?

Yes. Kinda.

Basically, there's no UMD slot, so you can't play any physical PSP games you may own, but many digitally released PSP games work, using the Vita's official PSP emulator. Alas, not every PSP game released digitally is supported at the moment. There are some lists online that will tell you if the PSP game you want to play is supported by Vita. Some PSP games require that you download it to a PS3 first and then transfer it to Vita, but the games on Sony's official list can be downloaded directly to the Vita.

The PSP games that do run on Vita get some nice benefits though. The Vita's second analog stick can be configured to be mapped to the PSP's d-pad, the face buttons (X,O, triangle, square) or as a copy of the left analog stick. Also, the Vita can apply a filter to the PSP game that's being played to make it look a bit smoother on the Vita's larger screen. Not to mention benefiting from the brighter, more contrasty screen that the Vita has. Vita pretty much kicks the shit out of any of the PSP models for playing PSP games. Well, except for one problem...


6) IS IT HACKED!?!

Sort of.

If you are lucky enough to have a Vita with version 3.18 or lower, PSP custom firmware can be installed to play most PSP game backups and homebrew. You just need to buy one of the 3.18 PSP games on PSN (a PS3 is required to transfer games), and install FW 3.18 TN-V custom firmware for that game. Sony responded by patching the exploits in 3.30 and 3.35 firmware, but the games themselves have not been patched and can still be purchased from PSN as of November 11th, 2014.

If you're on 3.35/3.30, exploits are under development, so make sure to check Wololo when the next 3-day window of opportunity appears.

> Though if you really want to use PSP homebrew, get a PSP. They're about $30-50, and all of them can run custom firmware. The Vita does have a higher res screen with upscaling, but it's PSP emulator isn't perfect.

There is also ongoing research on Native Webkit exploits in 3.18, which opens the possibility of Vita homebrew. No, you can't play Vita game backups (yet).


7) Can I import my weeaboo games from Japan? Can I download games from other regions?

Yes, Vita is region free for retail games so import away. Although, you may not be able to use DLC for foreign games if you're playing the game on an account from the wrong region.

You can switch the Vita over to a different region, but it takes about 5 minutes (essentially you have to restore the system to factory defaults). However, any content bought on that account cannot be played on any other account, so when you switch back you'll be locked out of it. Free content can be played though, so demos and apps are okay to go between accounts/ regions.


8) What kind of non-gaming options does Vita have?

Well, like PSP you can put music, videos, and photos onto the system and play them on the go. The Vita can access the PSN's video store if you want to buy movies or TV shows to watch on the go. In addition to that, there are some free apps available on the PSN such as: Youtube, NicoNico, Facebook, Netflix and Twitter. Some other apps like Hulu are going to be available in the future.


9) Should I buy a Vita?

That's really not a question that can be answered with a blanket answer. Pretty much it comes down to games, if you see a few games on the system that you think you'll enjoy, then you might want to consider it. Most people who have owned one (even a lot of the people who ended up selling it) said that they felt like the hardware was good. So the question is more if you think you'll enjoy the games that are on it or not.


10) Where do I go if I have more questions?

Look up the Vita General thread on /vg/. There are usually some helpful folks around there if you have a question that wasn't answered here.

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