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PS Vita launch limitations grow: account switching, multitasking, and backwards compatibility

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At launch the PlayStation Vita will not allow web browsing during a game, only support 720p video and, and will not be backwards compatible with some PSP games. However future software updates could address all those limitations. The Vita will also require a factory reset to switch PSN accounts.


An AV Watch interview with Sony yesterday revealed efforts to get Flash support for the PlayStation Vita and the lack of 1080p video playback at launch, but there were a few other details about the handheld that went unnoticed. For one, Sony said the Vita will not allow web browsing while playing a game — this decision was made after careful deliberation in order to maximize the resources available for gaming. That might seem trivial, but for people who like to consult online guides while they play, it could be inconvenient. In addition, software development head Muneki Shimada clarified that the PS Vita would not work with every original PSP game because the console uses a combination of hardware and software emulation that isn't perfect.

Another piece of information came from Sony's Brad Douglas through Twitter; he said the Vita would require a factory reset to change between PSN accounts. That only affects the few people who purchase games from multiple regions, but it practically neuters the Vita's region-free capabilities when it comes to downloaded games. Granted, the PSP didn't make it easy to switch PSN accounts, but we'd expect a next-generation portable to improve that particular shortcoming.

Some of these limits are fairly minor; for example, the Vita's 544 lines of resolution can't do full justice to a 1080p video anyway. However, Sony was clear that browser / game multitasking, full HD video playback, and improved PSP backwards compatibility could come in future firmware updates. Sadly, there's no indication that multiple PSN accounts will be supported, and Sony doesn't have the greatest track record here. Despite other additions like stereoscopic 3D, PS2 backwards compatibility was eventually eliminated on the PS3.