The bad news is you still have to buy a new proprietary memory card for your PS Vita. The good news is it won't cost as much as originally feared. Of course, the better news would be that you didn't have to buy them at all.
Alas, you still do. But the official pricing, included with all the other accessories in today's launch lineup announcement, comes in $10 less for the 4GB card ($19.99) and $20 less for the super-size 32GB card ($99.99). The 8GB and 16GB cards will cost $29.99 and $59.99, respectively, according to Sony.
The memory is, effectively, not optional, and one of the more unfortunate (and expensive) hidden costs in a gaming platform. Though not all titles will require it, additional memory is necessary for gamesaves, downloadable games, and any downloadable content. Whatever storage comes onboard the Vita can't be used for those purposes.
You may recall earlier rumors that downloadable PlayStation Network versions of retail games would get a discount, presumably to offset the cost of a memory stick and to drive consumers to Sony as a retailer (and, as a future effect, minimize used game trade-ins and sales). Sony Computer Entertainment America declined to comment on this when first reported. We broached the matter with an SCEA rep again today and were told to expect some communication in the future on the matter. It wasn't a denial, but it wasn't a confirmation, either.