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PlayStation Vita won't let you start certain games without a memory card

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PlayStation Vita
PlayStation Vita

Wonder how Sony managed to slice the gorgeous and powerful PlayStation Vita's price tag down to just $249.99? It might have something to do with the external batteries and memory cards you're probably going to have to buy. Kotaku Japan recently quizzed the company about the latter, and discovered an interesting paradox when it comes to the tiny flash memory chips — apparently, you won't even be able to start playing some games (like flagship title Uncharted: Golden Abyss) without one of Sony's proprietary Vita memory cards securely slotted into your system.

That's because even if you decide not to download titles outright, some of them will need to install game files and saves, just like many PlayStation 3 games need gigabytes of space on your internal hard drive. The difference, of course, is that a hard drive came standard with every PS3 ever produced, while the cheapest 4GB PS Vita card costs ¥2,200 (roughly $30) and tops out at ¥9,500 ($125) for a 32GB model. Of course, some of this will be familiar to anyone who ever owned a PlayStation Portable, as those required Sony's proprietary Memory Stick. (At least you could try the game first, and use it for other things.) The strangest part is that those PS Vita cartridges that do have internal save space won't let you use your memory card at all — effectively dividing future Vita titles into a "basic" tier for standard functionality, and a "premium" one for games with perks like downloadable content.

We'll reserve judgment until we've played some of those delicious-looking games, but it sounds like the worst of both worlds... and an opportunity for Sony to sell lots of holiday bundles.