Sony-Approved Vita Screenshot Thoughts

Another Sony copyright notice

Sony’s new Vita handheld system now allows you to take screenshots in much the same way that smartphones do.  You just press the “PS” button and hold down the “Start” button at the same time.  Unfortunately there are some severe caveats to this, as Sony wants to control every aspect of the screenshots you take.

As a gaming journalist, there are only a few options to getting screenshots from a game.  Taking screenshots for a PC game is rather easy, as is creating video, but grabbing screenshots from consoles is a bit trickier.

From the publisher

The most common way is to get the screenshot directly from the publisher.  The problem with this is that other sites probably have the exact same screenshot, and/or the screenshot is already watermarked.  On top of that you only get the screens that shows the game in the best possible way.

Specialized Hardware

You either have to have expensive hardware to grab frames from a high-definition source, or have a development version of the console.  Developer versions of consoles are not things you can just get;  you have to be a licensed software house to have one.

As mentioned in the article ‘12 Legitimate Reasons to Hack Your Console‘, if you have a hacked console then you pretty much can do the same thing as a development console: you can take all the screenshots you want of any game you want.

Another Sony copyright notice

Sony-enforced limitations

You can take screenshots of the LiveArea navigation menu all day long, but when it comes to games Sony is a bit more conservative.  Many games let you take a screenshot, but it is automatically watermarked with a copyright notice from Sony and the development studio.

Other games force you to take screenshots another way, and Wipeout 2048 is one of them. If you try to take a screenshot, you will get a “You cannot take a screenshot of this game” bitch-slap message.

You had to set up the scene to take the screenshot

To take a Wipeout 2048 screenshot, you have to record a race, replay it, pause, set up the camera angles just right, and then take a screenshot that way.  This can be nice as you can use post-production effects like motion blur, but really isn’t a screenshot OF the game, but ABOUT the game, which can be deceiving to a reader who is researching whether to buy said game.

This is pretty much the equivalent of allowing you to record a TV show, but having it automatically watermarked “property of Universal pictures” in the middle of the screen.  It practically negates the reason to record the show in the first place and ruins your enjoyment.

Annoying Sony copyright in the corner

I find it rather ironic that Sony was a huge advocate of personal use when they started selling VCRs in the 70s and 80s, but now are one of the biggest copyright  juggernauts out there.

I appreciate that Sony included the ability to create screenshots, but attaching all the legal bullshit to it only helps edify their Nazi-esque anti-consumer image.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.