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PS Vita Hopes To Prevent Piracy With Closed Memory Format

The proprietary (and costly) memory card format for Sony's upcoming PS Vita has many up in arms, but the company says the new format will prevent another PSP piracy disaster.
The proprietary (and costly) memory card format for Sony's upcoming PS Vita has many up in arms, but the company says the new format will prevent another PSP piracy disaster. Sony Computer Entertainment's Muneki Shimada claims the PS Vita-exclusive memory cards -- which are used as a substitute for internal storage to hold game saves, downloadable content, and other files -- will "ensure the security" of the handheld, according to a Japanese Impress Watch interview. The company plans to not allow users to hook up the memory cards to their PCs as "mass storage" formats, meaning that they will not be able to transfer and organize their files without using a special content management program, unlike how one manages files on a standard SD card or other devices. While the PSP requires Windows-only utility Media Go to transfer games to Sony's proprietary Memory Sticks, users could still use them as mass storage devices for other files. This led to hackers eventually devising a way to load custom firmware, circumvent security protections, and play pirated games on PSPs. Shimada argued that this approach for PS Vita will be more convenient for users, as they will not have to deal with folder structures on the cards -- similar to a program like iTunes, the content management software would take care of that. Some, however, might argue that this takes control away from users. Mac owners will also take issue with Sony's utility, as the content management program will only be available for Windows when it launches in Japan (December 17, February 22 elsewhere). Andriasang's translated report of the interview says the company intends to release a Mac-compatible version soon. PS Vita's memory cards have come under fire recently from consumers after U.S. retailer listings revealed prices considerably higher than standard memory: $24.99 for 4GB, $39.99 for 8GB, $69.99 for 16GB, and $119.99 for 32GB. PS Vita system purchases ($249 for Wi-Fi only, $299 for 3G) will not include the cards.

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