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Sony Introduces UMD-to-Digital Program, But It’ll Cost You

Games will cost different amounts of money to make the digital transition.

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Sony’s been talking about giving PSP owners a way to turn their physical UMDs into digital games, but after PSP go failed to light the world on fire, Sony shelved the concept. With Vita around the corner, the idea resurfaced, and now it’s happening.

The company is calling this service, at least in Japan, “UMD Passport.” You download a program from the PlayStation Store, insert a UMD featured in Sony’s list, register the game with PlayStation Network, pay a certain amount (it changes per game) to access a digital copy, and download away.

As mentioned, there is not a flat fee to purchase a digital version, and it appears that will be up to individual publishers to determine. Sony’s press release says the prices will be “reasonable,” and with one exception, the price mostly hovers between 500 yen (about $6.50) to 1,500 yen (about $20).

A comparable program has not been announced for anywhere outside of Japan, and it’s unclear how Sony would prevent players from handing a single UMD around, but those details will come later.

Publishers are not forced to participate in the program, either, though Sony’s announcement says major companies like Capcom, Sega, Square Enix and others are making their games available.

Patrick Klepek on Google+