The PS Vita, Sony's upcoming gaming handheld, will only be able to download files of 20MB or smaller using its 3G connection. It's a handy way to stop you from trampling all over your data allowance, but could also limit the device's online flexibility.
Talking to Sony Computer Entertainment, gaming site ASCII uncovered that the PS Vita will have a 3G download limit of 20MB. Any files larger than this will have to be downloaded using Wi-Fi, which is also built into the handheld.
While this will prevent the less on-the-ball among us from racking-up expensive data bills, it could also severely limit the accessibility of the online PlayStation Store. With a 950x544 pixel resolution screen, it won't take many art assets to fill up that 20MB limit, making it likely that most (if not all) of the games sold from the console's online store won't be available to download when you're out and about - unless you're within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. It's worth noting that iOS imposes a similar 3G limit on the iPhone, however. And there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon - Angry Birds is under 20MB on both Android and iPhone.
This limit is also subject to change. It's a largely arbitrary figure designed to avoid any Vita owners getting stung with a huge data bill at the end of the month by their network, and to side-step painfully long download times. 3G networks tend not to be as fast as Wi-Fi connections, much as HSPA's theoretical maximum speed is very snappy. Vita games bought from good old retail stores will come on flash memory cartridges - not everything on the console has to be downloaded.
Some upcoming Vita games look bloomin' gorgeous
The PlayStation Vita is headed for a launch on 17 December in Japan, but it won't reach the UK until next year. If you're on the hunt for a Christmas present, you'll have to "settle" for the Nintendo 3DS, now available for £130 or less following a recent price drop, or an iPod Touch. Times are hard.