Sony says that it won't make the same mistakes again with the PS Vita, but in the same breath it says that it won't support legacy software from the PSP on its new platform. With the launch of the PSP Go, the company simply decided that its UMD format was no longer going to be supported on new hardware and so the PS Vita continues that tired old trend. The sad part is it is doing this in the U.S. and European markets – the markets where the new system will ultimately shine brighter than in Japan.
Speaking with Sony worldwide studios boss Shuhei Yoshida, Wired asked them why they wouldn't be offering the UMD Passport plan in regions outside of Japan. The UMD Passport program allows consumers in Japan to transfer games they own on UMD to the new system, via codes.
"I’m sorry we are not doing it in the States, but there are two factors that contributed to the decision as I understand it," Yoshida tells Wired. "I’m not in a position to make that kind of business decision. The system has been introduced in Japan, where there is a much larger demand for PSP games. When you look at the release schedule of new titles there are still lots of PSP games being released in Japan and being announced for release. Lots of people who are interested in trying Vita are also interested in playing PSP games that they might purchase before Vita comes out, and will not necessarily choose the digital version."
He went on to say that the sales price of popular games are reasonable and that there was very little demand for a UMD Passport program in the U.S. He also said it wouldn't be cost effective.
"There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price," he continued. "Because people in Japan are not getting the digital copy for free, because it costs us money to develop and maintain the system so we are asking people to pay somewhere between $5 and $10 to receive the digital copy in addition to what they have on the UMD."
"When you compare that to the price of games here, PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy. But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system. The combination of the new titles available, or the lack of, and the price difference, the company decided to do that."
So if you were holding out hope that Sony would change course on this decision, this news should put those kinds of thoughts out to pasture…