22 Feb

Many have questioned Sony’s refusal to bring its UMD Passport Program for the Playstation Vita – which would allow PSP game owners to pay a small fee for a digital copy of their games – to the West. According to Sony, the reasoning behind the move was a lack of demand for such a service in the region, as conjectured by the overall lack of PSP software sales. The cheaper prices games sell for on the US and EU PSN also played a factor in the decision.

“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,” explained Shuhei Yoshida, Head of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, “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. So there is a lot more demand… to introduce a program like that…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.”

In lighter Vita news, SCE Worldwide Studios Vice President Scott Rohde has promised that the new handheld will not experience a repeat of the PSP’s software droughts. Putting the blame for the PSP’s software shortcomings on Sony trying to develop two platforms at once, Rohde made a point to emphasize the company’s newly re-dedicated development relationship with studios working on Vita projects.

“This time around, we started planning for development of [Vita] about three years ago, in terms of developing for the software, and how we were going to be able to transition,” Rohde detailed, “I think that there were too many droughts of killer titles [for PSP]. There were too many long droughts, and I think we recognized that. And we’ve put a serious investment into our long-term PS Vita plans, so there’s a lot of stuff in the works.” (Full interview available here)

(via Gamasutra: 1,2)

Think Sony learned their lesson from the PSP’s lackluster software support? Was the company correct in its evaluation of interest in a Western UMD Passport program? Give us your thoughts in the comments section!

2 thoughts on “Sony: “No Demand” for UMD Program in the West, Vita will Avoid PSP’s Software “Droughts””

  1. Bull, I would take advantage of the PSP program. This is just a tactic they are using to not have to support all the older games that people might want to play but did not get the chance to because they don’t own a PSP for various reasons.

    There are some good releases for the Vita, but there aren’t that many that make me want to purchase a system at launch. If they had the UMD conversion program, I would be vastly more inclined to spend my money on a system.

  2. It is actually a little refreshing to here some honest business strategy from Sony, even if it does suck for the consumer. At least Vita owners can catch up on the old library of PSP games via the online store, but it still seems wrong making us buy games we might already have, but I guess we still have our PSP for that.

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