Sony announced the UMD Passport program for Japan a few weeks ago, giving people who own a PSP the opportunity to register their UMD games and get a discount on a digital version of that same game on the new PlayStation Vita. A full list of the supported UMD titles for Japan has surfaced and it is far from including all UMD games.
The UMD Passport program is still up in the air for the rest of the world but Sony announced the program for Japan back in early November. At the time, the company promised around 200 games would be supported from day one, with additional titles coming soon after. The official list of supported UMD titles has surfaced and the grand total is 262 games.
The thing is, the grand total of titles available for the PSP in Japan is actually 606, so the list currently covers just over one third of the available titles. What’s more interesting is a number of major publishers are missing from the list entirely. There are no games from Capcom, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Konami, and Sega on this list. Those publishers are absolutely huge in Japan and the simple absence of Monster Hunter games (published by Capcom) is sure to have people frustrated from the get go.
The announcement from Sony claims that these publishers will support the program but not at launch, however there is absolutely no time frame given for their participation. It doesn’t seem like Sony is pushing very hard to get the majority of major publishers on board.
The even more troubling aspect of this program is Sony has absolutely no rules in place as to how games should be priced. The discount given to someone who registers their UMD is completely up to the publisher, with no restrictions from the console manufacturer. That is evidenced by the wide swing in prices from as low as $6 to as high as $31.
I’m sure that Sony thinks a program like this is a nice gesture to the consumer but it’s actually an incredibly frustrating offering. First, there are no details about whether or not this will even be offered in more territories. Second, the company should have set a pricing model for this. The company could have fixed a specific range of prices that publishers could charge to avoid pushing the consumer to pay $31 for a digital copy of a game they already own.
Hopefully Sony of America will be smart enough to not make the same mistakes that the Japanese branch of the company is making, if UMD Passport does manage to make it stateside.
What kind of pricing structure would be compelling enough for you to consider registering and rebuying your games? Do you even care to own a Vita with the memory pricing being what it is? Let us know how you feel in the comments.