The Japanese launch of Sony’s new portable gaming machine the PlayStation Vita is coming next month. It seems Sony has finally figured out what they are going to do about consumers who own a ton of games on the now defunct UMD format that the PSP used. The company has announced an application called UMD Passport, which will give folks access to their UMD games on the PlayStation Vita, provided they are willing to pay.
The way that UMD Passport will work is relatively simple. PSP owners will download an application to their device. That application will allow them to put in a game on UMD and register it. When the consumer receives their PlayStation Vita they can then repurchase their UMD games, via the PlayStation store, for a discounted price.
The pricing for specific games hasn’t been released, but it is reportedly going to average between 500 and 1,000 yen which translates to about $6 to $13. Apparently games are going as high as ¥2,400 ($31) so the price from game to game could vary wildly. The Passport application for PSP will be released in Japan on December 6, which is a little over two weeks before the December 17 launch of the Vita. In theory this would give customers the ability to register their UMD games and then trade them and their PSP in towards a Vita purchase if that’s what they really wanted to do.
Sony hasn’t commented on whether this program will be available to consumers in the U.S. or Europe when the Vita launches in those territories early next year. Hopefully Sony will have more details about those territories soon. Sony has detailed which titles will be available initially and they have stated that they hope to expand it to a total of 200 games. It seems like that makes for a good chance your favorite PSP games would be included on the list.
I’m personally not thrilled that I’ll essentially have to pay for my games again, even if it is at a discount. Honestly though I didn’t expect Sony to just give the games to me for free on the Vita, so I suppose this is a decent compromise. The company could have just as easily said if you own games on UMD you are out of luck and they won’t transfer over. I’m curious to see what kind of prices they are going to charge for the games I own if this is brought Stateside.
How do you guys feel about this UMD Passport business? Are you even considering the purchase of a Vita?