The secret suffering of Vita owners with multiple memory cards

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vita layout 1
Vita owners have it rough. You have no idea. It isn’t just the lack of games, respect and cheaply priced memory cards that troubles us. There’s another issue that’s far more traumatizing. It’s the inability to save layouts. Sure, it seems like a minor quibble, but trust me when I say that nobody understands the frustration that comes from swapping Vita memory cards. It’s a heartbreaking situation and one that I only just experienced.

See, I have two Vita memory cards. I started out with a 16GB card when I purchased my system. I outgrew it within the first six months, thanks to downloads of Persona 4 Golden and DJMax Technika Tune. Then I went out and bought a used 32GB memory card. I backed up everything from the 16GB card to my computer, popped in the 32GB card and relied on it.

Life was good until February 2013. Specifically, until Square Enix decided to discount all the PSOne Classic Final Fantasy games on the PlayStation Store. My 32GB Vita memory card was down to 1GB of space and I had a brilliant idea. I would make my 16GB card my PSOne and PSP repository and the 32GB card would be just for Vita games. I set about my work, first backing up all PSP and PSOne content from my 32GB card to my computer. I swapped the cards, turned the Vita on and started clearing away icons on my 16GB card. Transferring didn’t take as long as I thought and I felt smart for having thought of this solution.

Then, I decided to go back to my 32GB memory card so I could play some Ecolibrium. It was then that I saw everything I had worked for was ruined.

vita layout 2
I had carefully organized everything on my Vita. I had wallpapers that sectioned games and apps off by type. It was beautiful. I had my most played games on the first screen so they’d always be right there when the Vita woke up. It was settled. And now, because I had switched memory cards, it was all gone.

There is no system in place in the Vita firmware to retain the memory of bubble locations if a memory card is removed. It won’t even remember the wallpapers you used, beyond the first few screens. The only icons that will remain in their positions are the ones representing games or programs that are present on both cards.

Of course, my initial shock couldn’t register this, so I removed the 32GB card again and replaced it with the 16GB card, which I had similarly organized after I set it up as my “classic” library. Again, my layout had disappeared. It was gone.

This all alludes to a greater problem, naturally. The Vita has been out since December 17, 2011 in Japan and February 22, 2012 in most other territories. This layout problem has been an issue since the beginning and while many people probably haven’t encountered it yet, it will be a problem as more downloads become available. I’m certain other people’s memory cards are also filling up and eventually 16GB and even 32GB cards won’t cut it. They’ll go buy more, grudgingly due to the price, and then experience the same shock when they find the icons won’t stay where you want them to if you dare do something like remove the card.

vita layout 3
What makes the Vita layout issue even more painful is that it’s something that could be easily fixed. Do a little firmware tweaking, allow people to save their Vita layouts for each card in the System Settings, and then all someone would have to do is potentially visit settings and load a file to have their respective memory card’s layout restored. It could be user friendly and simple!

Alas, we don’t have that option and who knows when Sony will decide we should. I guess we just have to take screenshots of our layouts before swapping cards, so at least we’ll remember how to rearrange them when we go back. In the meantime, I’d really like to start Final Fantasy IX or beat Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I finally got the icons on my 32GB memory card just the way I like them and I’m not reorganizing them again!

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  • VR-4nic

    Your so right! It’s such a pain in the a** that it pretty much makes owning a second memory card worthless! I have 3 cards, a 32GB card with my main US PSN account, then a 8GB card for my Japanese PSN account. The 3rd 4GB card is for my European PSN account but it was given to me for free, there was no way I would of bought a 3rd card after the shock I got from swapping that 32GB card back in for the first time and realizing all my icons and most background pic had to all be organized everytime the card was removed.

    Another VITA OS issue is the limit of 10 pages and the fact that I have to have a individual bubble for all my PSone games! All PSone games should go into one PSone Games Folder bubble so to save icon space, the same with PSP games. I hope Sony fixes these problems soon!

  • Barma

    Horror! It just happened to me when I realized I didn’t have enough space in my 16gb card to download my next game. I remembered I had a 4gb card laying around, so I took the big one out, put the small one in, and voilà! All my icons and wallpapers gone. Then, I quickly replaced the small card with the big one to see if my stuff was there. First of all, I thought all my stuff was gone for good and I had to reinstall. Then I found my precious game icons on the last page, so I had to reorganize everything. Thank you very much, Sony. What are you thinking? There’s no way in hell I’m gonna deal with two cards. Don’t know what I’ll do. >:(

  • stOneskull

    The article that needed to be written!

    And needs to be read by Sony.

    Makes me so frustrated..

    I want to buy more games and fill up my memory cards but its been made difficult..
    I like the idea of having nice layouts and wallpaper, different things on each memory card..
    but I can’t in this tear-inducing bubble mess..

    Do they expect us to just have the one memory card and constantly transfer using content manager?

  • James

    Just experienced this when I bought a 2nd 32GB card after I filled my first one…

    Just horrible. Really hope they fix this.

  • Greco

    Im not getting this problem, My system works fine so don’t generalize what you’ve been encountering.

    • Jenni Lada

      Did you have two memory cards before the latest firmware update which added Vita folders?

      If you had, then you would have encountered the same problem. It seems like the latest firmware update may have remedied this issue though.

  • TeeJay

    WOW, that’s what you’re complaining about?! have you ever heard of taking screenshots to remember? that’s what I did when I switched memory cards, just take a bunch of damn screenshots and you won’t forget!

  • Paulogy

    I feel your pain, brother! Any word on an update/workaround for this?

  • Greg Nelson

    I think the reason there is not an update to address this problem is because Sony uses it to encourage it’s users to buy bigger memory cards. I’m juggling (3) memory cards and it @#!@$ sucks concerning the save situation. A lot of my games are physical and as a PS PLUS member I now have quite a few digital games. So the saves get screwed up depending on which card I have in. There is a PC app for managing content so I am going to try to come up w/ a system ahead of time for remembering for my next vacation cause nothing sucks worse than playing musical cards, with a grip, on a plane, after a few drinks.