El33t Tip: How to switch accounts on PS Vita without formatting your memory card

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I’ve had my PS Vita since the worldwide launch and have used this time to thoroughly explore the handheld’s capabilities. One of the more annoying aspects of the Vita’s current firmware (1.61 at the time of writing) is account switching. Unlike the PS3, content you download from the PlayStation Store is locked to the account from which it was purchased and you can’t switch between accounts on one console without having to first perform a factory reset.

PS Vita Account Switching Screenshot 6

Before I take you through the account switching process, let’s discuss why you would want to switch between accounts in the first place. The main advantage of using an account from a different region is that it gives you access to that region’s PlayStation Store. Each version of the PS Store has different content on it as well as discounts and prices that are unique to that particular Store. For instance, the US PS Store recently had a Final Fantasy sale where you could pick up titles like Final Fantasy VII and Dissidia: Final Fantasy for 30% less than their original price.

Another advantage of switching accounts is being able to gain access to demos or games that aren’t available on your native region’s Store. The Japanese PS Store has many PS Vita demos for games that we may never see released on our shores, while the US PS Store sometimes boasts titles (such as Persona 3: Portable) that are only released months later in Europe.

PS Vita Account Switching Screenshot 6

The great thing about downloading PS Vita demos from a foreign PS Store is that most of them aren’t account locked. In other words, you can play them no matter which account you’re signed into on your Vita.

Let’s turn our attention to the process behind account switching on PS Vita. The important thing to note is that the method I’m going to outline doesn’t require you to format your memory card before (or after) switching accounts. When the Vita was first launched many gaming sites claimed that you couldn’t switch accounts without being required to format your memory card. This is simply not true.

Before I take you through the account switching tutorial you need to ensure that you have at least two PSN accounts and that your Vita is connected to a reliable WiFi signal. I’ll also assume that you’re currently signed into your default account.

Account Switching Tutorial

  • go into ‘Settings’
  • select ‘PlayStation Network’

PS Vita Account Switching Screenshot 1

  • select ‘System Activation’
  • select ‘Game’
  • select ‘Deactivate’
  • select ‘Yes’
  • go back to ‘System Activation’
  • select ‘Video / Music’ (not applicable to some regions)
  • select ‘Deactivate’
  • select ‘Yes’

PS Vita Account Switching Screenshot 3

  • go back to ‘Settings’
  • select ‘Format’
  • select ‘Restore the PS Vita System’
  • select ‘Restore’
  • select ‘Yes’
  • select ‘Yes’
  • select ‘No’ when it says “Do you want to format the memory card also?” (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • your Vita will now restart

PS Vita Account Switching Screenshot 5

  • select language
  • select time zone
  • select date and time
  • select ‘Yes, I do’ when asked “Do you have a Sony Entertainment Network account?”
  • select ‘Use’
  • select your WiFi hotspot
  • enter your WiFi password (if applicable)
  • sign in with your other PSN account’s details
  • confirm your credit card details (if applicable)
  • the opening movie will play (unfortunately it can’t be skipped)
  • you’ll need to reactivate content on your account if you previously deactivated it

So there you have it – the most direct and painless way to switch accounts on PS Vita. Please note that some data is lost in the transition between accounts, including your custom system settings, wallpaper settings, and saved data relating to built-in apps such as Near.

Please leave any questions you may have in the comments section and I’ll be sure to get back to you. Happy account switching!

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