When I opened my girlfriends Christmas present and saw the words ‘PS Vita’, I imagine that I resembled a child actor in a 90’s commercial for rollerblades. Wide eyes, open mouth and a liberal use of the word ‘Radical’. While I’m a lifelong gamer, my financial independence and work with Big Head Mode means that I’m not often surprised with anything game related as a gift. In fact, when it comes to gifts, most people know to stay away from video games altogether since I’ve usually already bought, finished and reviewed most games. So being caught off guard with the Vita was not only a shock but also a delightful nostalgic trip back into my childhood, where games were ‘special treats’ rather than my way of life. As I dug through the box, grabbing power cables and ripping cardboard, memories of drooling over the Earthworm Jim Sega Mega Drive box came flooding back to me. I couldn’t wait to get into it.
So there I was. The Vita was charged, I was hooked up the the PS Store… It was play time! First things first, I downloaded Little Big Planet since it came with the Vita. After all, why wouldn’t I download it? Then I download Rayman Legends, a great platformer, followed by Locoroco for the PSP. It was so cheap, how could I resist? Isn’t this great, it’s so easy and effortless, I’m going to download another…Wait… Hard drive full? HARD DRIVE FULL?!?
We’ve all been there. No matter what the device, when it comes to hard drive space, once it’s full it can seem impossible to get that space back. For games particularly, between all the downloadable add-ons, updates and mandatory installs, space is becoming more and more valuable. But as games continue to grow in scope and memory, I’m left scratching my head as to why console and handheld hard drive space isn’t moving with the times. If the portable 500 gig hard drive I bought 2 years ago was only $50, why are we paying a premium for a next gen console with the same amount of space?
For the last year or so, we’ve been repeatedly told that the future of gaming is in digital distribution. The Rise of Steam, the proliferation of mobile gaming; It’s a future that even made Microsoft feel confident enough to create a console built entirely for digital games… at least initially anyway, before they did about 17 backflips and recovered from ‘MatrickGate’. But these modern consoles simply just aren’t up to snuff, especially given the rate at which gamers seem to be snapping up digital content. Even the last generation of consoles seems more effective at managing space, despite the smaller hard drive. With a full game ranging between 5 and 8 gigs, you can still fit a lot of content onto a 120 gb HD. Whereas with next-gen, full games round out closer to 30 gb. That’s an extraordinary amount of space to be using up so early in a consoles life and for me, it really makes me question if the big game companies truly appreciate what it means when we as the loyal, gaming consumer public, actually purchase their consoles.
It’s not just a product to gamers, it’s an investment.
It’s about ensuring a place in the next 10 years of video games and to me it seems that Microsoft and Sony either don’t understand that or they simply don’t care. I’m sure their solution to the problem will be to release the ‘Super Xbox One’ in 4 years time, a more expensive console with a bigger hard drive. And considering the Xbone only really has 362GB’s, as proven by IGN, I imagine people will probably welcome any upgrade.
But in the meantime, I can’t help but feel shortchanged. If I can buy a 2 terrabyte hard drive at the post office for $80, why does it cost me the same amount to buy a 32 gig memory card for the PS Vita? I might not be able to speak for all of the gaming community but I can say that I am ready for the digital revolution… I just wish the rest of the industry was too.