I have a PS1, PS2, PSP and a PS3. With an adapter (official, made by Sony), I was able to copy my old file saves from my old games into my PS3, so I can keep them without being erased for long time...

However, I still like to play with my old consoles sometimes, so I also use my old memory cards (from PS1 and PS2). Also, apart from the PS family consoles, I had a GameBoy, but some games' cartridges' batteries died. I am wondering if the PS1 or PS2 memory cards suffer from something similar to this. Will the saves be erased after years?


2 Answers 2


PlayStation and PlayStation 2 memory cards, along with the Memory Stick Duo cards used by the PSP, all use flash memory which is a form non-volatile memory that doesn't need power to maintain its state. So they won't lose their saves the same way your old GameBoy cartridges did because they don't have batteries that can go dead.

However nothing lasts forever and there are two ways your memory cards could end failing through normal use, even if you take the utmost care of them. The first is that since they have metal contacts like cartridge games, these contacts can wear out from repeated use just like they did with cartridge games. You may have heard stories of people blowing into their old Nintendo cartridges to get them to work. Do not do this, or do anything else to try to clean the memory cards, it will just make things worse. In practice I've never heard of memory card failing this way. Along with newer game cartridges they're probably manufactured to better stand up to repeated insertions and removals than those old game cartridges. A common number of mentioned on the Internet is 10,000 insertion/removals for an SD card, which means it'll last 27 years if you plug it in and pull it out once every day.

The other problem is that the flash memory itself will wear out eventually. They can only withstand so many erase/program cycles before the area of memory being written to fails and can longer store data. For example, one of the flash chips used in PlayStation 2 memory cards is rated 250,000 erase/program cycles. In theory this is a lot, and you should never see a PS2 memory card fail this way, but in practice I've heard of some cards have failing because of memory errors. At least part of the problem is the way saves are stored in PS2 cards, causing the same area of the flash memory to written multiple times, over and over again, each time you save.

The endurance of flash memory is proportional to the size of the flash memory. Higher capacity flash chips are rated for much less erase/program cycles than lower capacity chips. This means memory cards for the original PlayStation (128 KB) should have a much longer endurance than PS2 cards (8 MB), especially given the simpler way saves were stored. The much more dense memory used in Memory Stick Duo Pro cards for the PSP (up to 32 GB) should have less endurance, but overwriting the same area of memory over and over is much less of problem.

Note that both of these potential failures are the result of actually using the memory cards. Just sitting on the shelf, safely stored away, none of these problems will manifest themselves. No one knows how long flash memory will last like this, but it seems it should be for very long time. Much longer than battery on your old GameBoy cartridges in any case.

  • +1, Anecdotally, I have PS1 memory cards with saves that were first put on there almost 20 years ago, and the saves are still valid.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 0:23

I Begg to differ with you. But some ps2 memory cards do have a 3 volt battery its a coin battery 1220 it in the at the time top of the line more expensive cards they will have screws to hold them together I know because I have one and the card will not work if the battery dies, but WalMart sells a replacement....hope this helps.

  • 2
    A link to an example of such a card would help a lot.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 0:22
  • Well try and find one wish they could post pictures I would be able to show you but I'm going to do my best to find a link.
    – Razor
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 1:27
  • I got you a link, look up pictures of sony ps2 memory cards with batteries, on page 1 shows the one I have being held by a mans hand ,it's a128 Mb
    – Razor
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 1:45
  • And here is a link shows the battery inside google.com/…
    – Razor
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 1:46
  • I appreciate the effort to improve the answer. I looked over the results at that link, and I didn't see any that definitely had a battery. There was one with some LED lights that looked like it might have one.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 18:56

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