At Least One Gamer Is Pissed At Sony For This Misleading Vita Description

Earlier this year, Kotaku reader Lewis bought a PlayStation Vita. He bought two 32GB memory cards: one for games and applications, and the other for music. "I figured I could use it as an MP3 player as well as a gaming console," Lewis told us. "Unfortunately, that is not the case."

As Lewis soon discovered, the product description on the Vita's 32GB memory card isn't entirely accurate. According to the box, the card can hold over 9000 songs:

But as Lewis points out, the Vita stopped him at 4000 songs:

"Naturally, I contacted Sony customer support," Lewis said. "Talking to two different representatives, I was first told there was no limit, then when I was proven right they told me to buy another memory stick for the rest of the music. No help, no reason why there is this arbitrary limitation."

Sony's website confirms the restriction. You can only save 4000 songs to use offline on your machine.

While it's true that technically the memory card could hold 32GB worth of music, this is a propriety piece of hardware — in other words, you can only use it on the Vita. So why does the memory card's product description say that you can save up to 9136 songs? This might not be a huge deal to most customers, but for people like Lewis, who bought two memory cards just for this purpose, it's no small problem.

We reached out to Sony for an explanation two weeks ago, when we first heard Lewis's story. Sony has not gotten back to us yet.

Picture: blakespot/Flickr


    Wow, how could he possibly go on with only 4000 songs on the memory card...

      you missed the point mate, ths issue is Sony lied and now want him to go out and buy another sony proprietry memory card, its BS.

      Also, 4000 songs isnt really enough if you listen to music throughout the day, i have 2.5k on my phone and i cycle through it withing a few days(keep in mind skipping songs i dont want to listen to at that very second)

      Last edited 05/03/13 9:41 am

        Even 4000 songs, at an average length of 3min each equates to 20 hours worth of music. An average frequent listener may listen up to... say.. 4 hours of music a day. That's still 5 days worth of unrepeated music.

        But the fact remains that Sony has used false advertising and Lewis is entitled to a full refund if he so wanted one.. assuming he is in Australia that is.

        It doesn't mention though what bit rate said songs need or need not be, maybe at a sub Cd quality level it can fit 9000.

          Nah mate its a file amount limit, not space, he can store heaps more but the software will only show and play 4k.

            Even though that's way more songs than I would need, I have to agree with him and this article.
            Why on earth does the limit exist?

      When people buy a 60 gig iPod, for example, they might not have 60 gigs of music. They're certainly not going to listen to 60 gigs of music. But what they want is to carry all of their music all of the time, so they can listen to whatever they want whenever they want.

      The point is, Sony advertised a specific number. This is a common marketing trick, to show off how much the memory is. Once we started getting hundreds of gigabytes in our desktop PCs we lost track of what these numbers meant, so it became common to express the size of the memory by expressing it in a less abstract format. Number of images, based on the average jpeg file taken by a digital camera. Number of mp3s based on the CD quality recording of around 3.5 minutes, and so on.

      Sony has indicated on their packaging that a 32 gig memory stick is equivalent to around 9,136 songs. What they have neglected to consider is that anyone might use it for that many songs, and there is a seemingly arbitrary limit imposed. The stick is not full so it's not a matter of the files being oversized for quality/song length reasons. It simply won't let him put above a certain amount.

      First world problems or not, this is misleading conduct at best, false advertising at worst. Sony should be compelled to respond.

    Sony yet again misleading the public, this is why i never buy sony products anymore, years of dodgy service and lies.

    I've had multiple sony DVD drives DOA and take months to get replaced, my original Sony walkman MP3 player was so faulty it wouldnt even turn on (within 2 months of purchase), and i sent it back for warranty 3 times and each time it was returned with a "no fault found" note attached (but it still didnt turn on).
    When they announced that the vita would have proprietry memory cards that was my "not interested moment", it was a dick move on the PSP and its a dick move on the Vita.

    Then there is the DCUO debarcle of charging Aussies more for an online sub (but not NZ) for no reason after specifying the price was US standard prior to launch.

      Yes no company ever lies but Sony.

        My point was that no company that lies or has dodgy service gets my money every again, sorry if my self assuredness confuses and scares you, its ok to have you're own oppinion mate.

          So you own nothing then? Because every company in the history of man has lied at least once, or has crap service.

          Also, it's opinion. I guess Macquarie has bad customer service seeing as you don't have a dictionary.

            I dont own any item where I'VE been ripped off, lied too or has provide ME with crap service.
            Seriously pay attention to what you read.

            i dont have a dictionary handy but more importantly i couldnt give 2 shits what some moron thinks of my grammer on an internet forum.

              Obviously you do otherwise you wouldn't be typing your experiences here.

              Also, when you can't spell opinion, or even comprehend how idiotic your "I don't give money to companies who are bad", you probably shouldn't be calling others "morons"

                WOW... Really? did you even read what you just typed?

                just so you can get it
                "I dont own any item where I'VE been ripped off, lied too or has provide ME with crap service." <-- this is present tense, my original comment is past tense.
                To break it down for you further, i CURRENTLY do not own or buy products or services where im not valued as a customer, i have learnt from experience. (can't make it simpler than that for you sorry)

                How moronic do you sound! so you're telling me you will continue to give money to a company that treats you like dirt?
                if so, i feel sorry for you, i imagine that you will probably end up being one of those guys/girls who ends up stuck in a dead end job married to a drop kick who treats you like shit because you refuse to stand up for your rights.

                Explain to me how not buying something from a company that treats me as a customer like crap is me being a moron? i would LOVE to see you explain that?

                Last edited 05/03/13 10:58 am

                  lol wow.

                  I suppose complex thought processes give you a headache and the only way to relieve it is to lash out at internet randoms and guess (incorrectly) about their personal lives.
                  That's some sort of inferiority issue you have there.

                  You are certainly angry for someone who cannot coherently get across what he is trying to say (and also changed it 3 times). It initially started with X company is yet again lying. Then it is, "any company that lies doesn't get my money" and then FINALLY you get there , "any company that lies to me, doesn't get my money".

                  Of course by then I was beyond caring and simply trolling you (grammar nazi'ing you should have been the give away).

                  Welcome to my web.

                  @Cayal.... every one of my statements you just quoted are the exact same thing, i had to specify and simplify them for you to understand, mate you are thick.

                  Actually it isn't the same. One is general, one is general related to you and one is specifically related to you.

                  I hope the web is nice and comfy.

      I've owned Sony TVs, Discmans, MD players, MP3 players, all their consoles, VCRs, hifi systems etc...

      The only Sony product that has broken down on me, is a single PS3 due to YLOD.

        I've always held teh belief that Sony TV's and HI end HIFi systems are good maybe even great, but i vote with my Wallet and i've been burned a few times by Sony so no more IMO.

    When you hit 4000 songs and you're complaining, you need to admit you have a problem.

    Admittedly, Sony needs to fix that description. It is misleading.

    Yeah it's not misleading there is a asterisk on Save up to. This guy is pretty stupid
    A. Not knowing about the storage and using a vita as a mp3 player.
    B. That $100+ 32gb card could of went to a ipod/touch or any other mp3 player for $50
    C. listening to Sly and the family stone. (I don't know who they are, just needed a C)

      Your stupid for having a go at Sly and the family stone. Awesome band.


        Also, bad move calling someone "pretty stupid" then going on to bag Sly & The Family Stone whilst admitting to not knowing who they are.

      Of course it's misleading, it shouldn't say "up to*: 9136 songs" - it should just say "4000 songs". If that's not misleading then they could write "up to*: A billion songs, all the movies in the world and it will also make you dinner and grant wishes" as long as they put an asterisk right? :P

      He definitely could have gotten a separate mp3 player pretty cheaply though, rather than wasting money on those stupid proprietary sony cards, but that's by the by and has nothing to do with the real issue.

      Ooh, I have a better C for you though:

      C. Buying a PS Vita in the first place.

        But the asterisk could say something like *depending on file size, 3-5mb a song

          Except the real issue is that it only allows you to put 4000 songs on the card. So it isn't even up to 4001 let alone 9000+

          Yeah, but in the end, the 4000 song limit isn't anything to do with size of the files. It's a software coded arbitrary limitation. The whole issue is that there's more room on the card, but Sony limits it to a maximum of 4000 songs.

          But it doesn’t matter what the file size is, the 4K cap is made on the number of songs. I think this was made pretty clear in the article.

          That's true. If he's uploading tracks from The Mars Volta, he'll only get about 15 tracks on 32gig card. They're loooooooong! I saw them at BDO one year and their set turned my BDO into a 4 day weekend.

      Ah... there's an asterisk! The "I had my fingers crossed" / "non-core promise" of features.

    I'm sure it will be fixed with a firmware update...

    That being said, I can't imagine having to swap out the cards depending what mood I was in, seems impractical.

    I think all of you have missed one of the biggest tactics used by MP3 companies back when they were a thing.

    When they advertised how many songs could fit on an mp3 player, they measured it using mp3's with a standard 3:00 minute file in the LOWEST kps audio quality, thus producing these numbers. But no one uses the low quality, the average being 192 and upwards then with the introduction with FLAC.

    I would have thought you all smart enough to know this.

      The memory card or vita OS has a limit on the NUMBER of files allowed in the "music" folder, it has nothing to do with storage space.


    I remember the days when people would get pissed off for genuine reasons.

      +1 Hero is you.


      there, fixed that for you :)

      I remember the days when people would get pissed off for genuine reasons.

      being mislead through advertising is not a genuine reason to be pissed off???

        It depends on the severity. This is a piss in the ocean, if you get pissed off over it, you seriously need to reevaluate your life and or stfu and go fist yourself.

          sounds like you are getting pissed off over people getting pissed off - should we call you xzibit or something? :)

    Is this kinda like Microsoft advertising 4 people with Kinect when that isn't possible? Or Nintendo doing the same with some other peripheral they had?

      Sure, if that happened. But we're talking about Sony right now

        Did happen and a lot worse than a secondary feature not able to play the number of songs advertised.

    Most people are quick reading this... The memory card CAN store over 9000 songs (When ripped in 128kb bitrate)... However, what appears to be the issue, is the Vita OS will only 4000 songs to be registered at one time. It's clearly a case of the card can support 9000 songs, but the system can't.

      Someone gets it!!

      The card isnt the issue - its the Vita firmware, so technically there is no error or misleading description here, just someone who failed to do the right research and then complains to the media about an "evil corporation"

        But the card can only be used in the Vita, so it makes no difference which bit is 'the issue'. Point is, it's advertised as being able to hold 9000 songs, but it can't.

          Exactly.. It's like telling you your car can get 1000km's to a tank, but the reality is your car won't run if the tank is under 60% due to a design flaw, so you can only get 400km's to a tank.

            Well no, it would be like saying the air conditioner in the car can cool your car to 15 degree but in reality only cools it to 18 degrees.

            Secondary, hardly used feature.

    That asterik is for the following text: (Taken from GameStop)

    "Or any combination of the above media. Calculations based on 1.75GB - 3.5GB average for full PS Vita games, 1.3GB average for movies, 3.5MB average for songs and 5MB average for photos"

    The 4k limit is a problem on the Vita no matter what card you have but why would you want to load up 9000 songs onto a memory card that is required for some games (If only Sony were sensible to use MicroSD)

      Because he bought 2 memory cards? One for games/apps, one for music. Its in the opening paragraph!

        Yes I read the article...but I wouldn't do that (buy a memory card just to hold music)...if you can afford a Vita and the memory cards...then you can afford a ipod or something.

          consolidation of devices not worth consideration in your house, eh?
          i suppose you have a computer/laptop for playing games. and one for surfing the web. and one for answering email, hmmm?

            No it's not worth considering in my house...I have my gaming PC in a computer room, a laptop in the lounge room, a laptop in the bedroom and a PC in the kitchen (which I don't use) all can check emails and surf the web...

            IMO...I see the Vita as a gaming device...I own a PSP and not once did I load up music on it but that's what I want to do..

            Everybody is entitled to choose what they want to do

      If he picked that card in particular because it was advertised as being able to hold that many songs, then it is clearly misleading. He might have bought a smaller, cheaper card if he knew he'd hit the Vita's limits before filling it.

      Just because that bullet point in the advertising wouldn't affect your purchasing decisions doesn't mean it is meaningless to everyone else.

    this is why i stopped buying Sony. Stupid anti piracy rules that they make up. You want to know why there is a limit? So one day they can lower the limit and offer you "unlimited" music from their online store. forcing users to sign up a subscription. remember memory gate?

    I was hoping they changed after the ass kicking the PSP got vs the DS and after the failed law suit trying to making it illegal to mod your own PS2. *shrug* their loss.

    I just want to know wtf the "accessories" port is for. Some video out would be pretty neat. At least then there may be some better quality youtube vids.

    Is it a directory limit? Can you create a subdirectory in music which will hold another 4000 files?

      Yeah. My thoughts exactly!

      i'd imagine the Vita OS can't see beyond 4,000 listings, so extra directories wouldn't help. since it's a nice round number, it's more likely a browser issue, i.e. 800 x 5 listings per screen, is definitely a designed limitation.

      Good news may be that they can patch it.

      You don't get direct access to the file system on Vita memory cards.

      The only way to change their contents is to run a special service on a PC (or the equivalent one on a PS3) and then initiate the transfer from the Vita. It isn't a USB Mass Storage Class device where you have complete control over the card's contents while the device is attached to a PC.

    So the moral of the story is: if you are buying memory cards for music then just purchase 16GB or lower.

    If the guy this story is about lives in australia take them to consumer affairs and get them to force Sony to fix it. Shit like that is actionable in AU.

      Yeah maybe but it would be quicker and less frustrating to just sell the 32GB card and buy 2x 16GB cards. Sure he'd lose a bit of money on the sale but he'd double the usable space for songs...

    So in summary ... Sony continue to be dicks ... not sure if that's actually news to anyone but I hope this guy gets to rip them a new one

      Except he'll be laughed out of the building, like most people are laughing at this now.

    I dont really see an issue here because was it actually on the packaging that it can hold up to 9000 songs or was it on the website's product description that they assumed that it can hold up to 9000 songs.

    Anyway, maybe it would be more of an issue if the vita could only take 100 songs but 4000 seems to be more then enough music to satisfy anyone.

    It seems to be this guy is just seeking attention over something as trivial as "My vita doesnt hold enough music"

    This isn't going to get very far at all if he tries legal action. It comes down to two lines:
    "According to the box, the card can hold over 9000 songs."
    The card can, and even gives you a little asterisked note to explain how they came up with that number.

    "But as Lewis points out, the Vita stopped him at 4000 songs."
    The song capacity limit wasn't on the Vita's box, it was on the memory card's box which made no mention of the Vita's actual capacity to play those songs, because it a) covers them in case someone does this, and b) allows them to put out a patch later on that changes the amount of playable songs without invalidating the packaging of existing products.

      Agreed. The only issue I see is that there is no mention of the limit anywhere in the Vita's manual - the only place I've seen it is in their knowledge base, answering a specific question regarding the limitation. If such limitations exist, even if they are edge cases, I would have thought they'd want to cover their arses as much as possible, and at least mention it in the manual...

    Maybe he should have organized them in sub files instead of cramming 4k+ songs into a memory card and complaining about capacity limitations and read errors >_>

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