The PlayStation Vita could well be crippled before it's even launched, with a Sony representative reportedly saying that the Vita will have a 20mb download limit over 3G.

A representative told ASCII in Japan that downloads will be limited to 20mb, meaning that only small files can be downloaded over a 3G connection, making it impossible to download feature-length games on the move.

This download limit over 3G is similar to Apple's policy with the iPhone and iPad, where users can only download files up to 10mb in size, and for anything bigger they must use a Wi-Fi connection.

It is currently unclear as to whether the 20mb limit on the Vita is due to hardware restraints, or an issue with the Japanese 3G service provider NTT CoCoMo. In the US the PSV will be available on AT&T, while network providers in Europe have yet to be confirmed.

Sony is marketing the Vita - which replaces the PlayStation Portable - as a premium handhold gaming device, but this data cap will surely tarnish the Vita's image, given that games cannot be downloaded when not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

The PlayStation Vita will go on sale in Japan on December 27 and retail at ¥24,980 (£206.40) for the Wi-Fi mode; and ¥29,980 (£247.70) for the Wi-Fi and 3G model. There will be 26 games available at launch in Japan.

There is currently no set release date for North America and Europe, although the Vita will be region free, so those keen to get the device early can import one from Japan.