PS Vita Compatible Media and Memory Cards

What formats can the PlayStation Vita handle?

PS Vita Icon
By Tanemori/Wikimedia Commons

The PS Vita can do a lot of different things: play games, display photos, and play videos and music. To do this, it supports a variety of compatible media and file formats. 

Removable Media

We know that Sony is a fan of proprietary formats for removable storage media on its devices, and the PS Vita is no exception. It takes not one, but two different PS-Vita-only card types.

PS Vita Memory Card: Where the PSP used Sony's Memory Stick Duo and Pro Duo formats for storage, the PS Vita uses a new PS Vita Memory Card. Presumably, the introduction of an all-new format is one trick in a range of changes aimed at reducing piracy. Memory sticks like those used in the PSP do not work with the PS Vita, nor do other common formats like the memory stick micro used in the PSPgo or SD cards. Also, memory cards are linked to a user's PlayStation Network account and can only be used in PS Vita systems that are linked to that account. 

PS Vita Game Card: Rather than the PSP's UMD game media, which is not playable on a PS Vita, though downloaded PSP games are, PS Vita games come on PS Vita game cards. These are cartridges rather than optical discs. Some games store their save data and downloaded add-on content right on their PS Vita game cards, while other games require a PS Vita memory card for saved data. For games that use the game card, saved data cannot be copied or backed up externally.

Sim Card: PS Vita units with cellular connectivity require a sim card from a service provider to use the service. This is the same kind of sim card as is used in cellphones.

File Types

The PS Vita, while primarily a gaming handheld, is also a full-featured multimedia device, capable of displaying images and playing music and video files. It supports the most common file types, but it can't play everything—no Apple-native sound files, for example. Here are the file types that are playable right out of the box.

Image Formats

  • jpg or jpeg
  • tif or tiff
  • bmp
  • gif
  • png

It's nice to see tiff support on the PS Vita. Not all portable devices have it, which often means converting higher-quality images into lossy jpeg files to view them. Of course, tiffs are usually much larger files than compressed formats, so better quality comes at the expense of storing fewer images. Otherwise, all the major formats are here, ensuring that you should be able to look at just about any still image.

Music Formats

If you download a lot of music from the Apple Store to iTunes on your Mac in AAC format, you won't be able to listen to that music on your PS Vita, but if you use a Mac, you won't be able to use the PS Vita's Content Manager Assistant software, either. This is a bit of an odd omission since AACs are playable on the PSP. There's also no support for AIFF files, but since that's primarily a format for burning to CD and not for portable listening, that's not as big a deal. Other than those two, the most popular sound formats are supported.

Video Format

Yep, one whole video format is supported. Sure, it's the most common one, but still. Maybe Sony will add support for other file types in future firmware updates.