Vita Game Cards vs Playstation Store



Most popular games for Sony’s new Playstation Vita are available via a physical card or by an online download.  Is there really any difference to which way you buy the game?  There are several things to take into account when considering a Vita game for purchase.

Purchasing online

Microsoft and Sony have a very different strategy when it comes to the cost of maintaining their respective multiplayer networks.  Microsoft forces a monthly subscription fee onto its online players, and Sony chooses to charge a one-time Online Pass for each game you want to play.

So far, all of the Vita game cards I’ve purchased as new come with a code that gives you the Online Pass, which normally costs an additional $10.  Even though the online version is usually $5 cheaper than retail, you may have to shell out extra money for the Online Pass, which makes the online version more expensive than retail.

On the flip side, you may not have to pay sales tax when you purchase online.  So, if a game has no online multiplayer (such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss or Rayman Origins),then it may be cheaper to purchase the downloadable version.


Retail Vita games do not come with a manual.  All of Vita’s game manuals are electronic, and are accessed by the game’s LiveArea pre-launch screen.  You’re really not missing anything by purchasing the downloadable version here.  As mentioned before, the retail package may come with a leaflet with an Online Pass code.

Don’t want to pay full price?  Read on…