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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.

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+
126 Comments
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Posted by Levio

Well then, I guess it's up to the users whether or not they want to pay Sony dollars for a process that costs less than a cent and gives them nothing they don't already have.

Posted by kiapurity

...uggggh, as much as I'd like to convert my UMDs, I'm wondering why it feels like I'm basically REBUYING them! D:

Posted by onan

I don't see why anyone is complaining about the cost. Sure, it's $5, but you also now either have two copies of the game for multiplayer, or you can just sell the physical one and recoup costs.

It's more like buying games on Steam or GoG you already owned, but don't want to go through the hassle of getting to work on modern systems or going through a convoluted installation or activation procedure for, or worry about CD checks. Many people happily repurchase games on those services because it's so damn cheap and worth just knowing those old favorites are always going to be available. Same thing here. I've personally already started the process by repurchasing some games on sale on the PSN store that I owned hard copies of but were so cheap it was absolutely worthwhile, like Dissidia and Capcom Puzzle World.

Posted by Arestice

money money money

Posted by BisonHero

@Levio said:

Well then, I guess it's up to the users whether or not they want to pay Sony dollars for a process that costs less than a cent and gives them nothing they don't already have.

What is the conversion rate of Brad bucks to Sony dollars?

Posted by Curufinwe

@gogobomb said:

why do they have to charge? they could easily let us do that for free

Sony cannot force publishers to let them give away digital licenses to their PSP games for free. That's why.

Posted by solidejake

Why do people complain about the dumbest things...? You don't want to pay again? Fine, play the game on your PSP. That's still an option.

Edited by Curufinwe

@Captain_Felafel said:

So Sony is asking for money so we can pay them to move over content that we already paid them for? What?

Oh right, Japan. *Shakes head*

You did not pay for a digital license to a PSP game just by purchasing a UMD in the same way you did not pay for or receive a digital license to a downloadable version of Battlefield 3 just by buying a boxed copy of it for the PS3 or 360.

It's the same with Japanese games or Western games console & handheld, but you blame it on Japan due to some pretty obvious personal prejudices.

Posted by ESREVER

Does this mean I will finally be able to play Kingdom Hearts and FF7:CC? I don't own any UMDs, and those games were only offered on UMDs.

Posted by TooWalrus

I bet Sony WANTS you to hand those UMDs around- they've already been bought, and if they're getting another $6-$20 out of each digital download, that's just free cash.

Edited by HydraHam

Not to keen on paying more money to play games i already own, i won't do this.

i don't have to have that extra analog for the psp games i own, the only one that really benefited was the MGS PW one, they didn't really do shit with the GOW ones so i assume the 2nd analog wont even be an option which makes this sound even more ridiculous to me. To people who actually want this that's cool but i just don't have a need, i own 2 psp's and it's used to play psp games and vita will be used to play vita games. This would be like the 3DS not having BC with DS games and tried to pull this stunt, more people would be outraged but then again it's sony, this doesnt surprise me seeing as they ditched UMD with PSPGO and took out BC in the PS3s.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the 2nd PS4 model doesn't have PS3 BC.

Posted by Peanut

Fuck that. Paying $6-$20 for a game I already own isn't reasonable at all.

Posted by RecSpec

I thought it was because Sony didn't have a plan like this in place that the PSPgo failed, not the other way around

Posted by BabyChooChoo

@Vitor said:

@VinceNotVance said:

Not a bad idea. I have a small amount of I'd love to play on a Vita (mostly, Square's stuff like Crisis Core & Dissidia); it'd be nice not to have to dig out my PSP to play some games.

Doubt that one of my all-time favorite games, Chili Con Carnage, will see release through this program though, which kinda sucks.

Dude, that game was IMMENSE. Not perfect by any means but so much fun. Beating my score on each level and just doing crazy shit all the time was such a time killer.

Holy shit I remember that game. One of my best friend's barely plays and video games, but he fucking loved that game. I had it for Xbox and he played it every time he dropped by lol

Posted by ThePhantomStranger

Well this doesn't fix my broken umd drive...or the fact that my favorite psp game probably still wont have a digital version anyway...eh I don't need a second stick!

Posted by BionicRadd

@Peanut said:

Fuck that. Paying $6-$20 for a game I already own isn't reasonable at all.

I bought Max Payne on CD Rom years ago. Therefore, Steam should let me have it for free!

I own a Super Mario Brothers NES Cart. The Wii Ware version should not cost me anything.

You own the UMD version. You do not own the Digital Version. Owning a CD doesn't mean you have the right to go on Itunes and download it without paying.

My suggestion is anyone that wants digital versions of these games should start hocking them on ebay and using the money they get from the sales to buy the PSN versions (or socking the money away to do so later). From where I am sitting, I see that i can buy a Vita, register my wife's copy of Darkstalkers and get that for my Vita on the cheap. Sounds like a win to me.

Edited by Sooty
@Captain_Felafel said:

So Sony is asking for money so we can pay them to move over content that we already paid them for? What?

Oh right, Japan. *Shakes head*

This isn't stupid because it's Japan. it's stupid because Sony.
 
It's kinda understandable because they are having to pay to set up and maintain this service, but it would've been nice if they just provided it for free. Not much chance of getting free stuff unless your company is called Valve or CD-Projekt these days.
Posted by BionicRadd

@Sooty said:

@Captain_Felafel said:

So Sony is asking for money so we can pay them to move over content that we already paid them for? What?

Oh right, Japan. *Shakes head*

This isn't stupid because it's Japan. it's stupid because Sony. It's kinda understandable because they are having to pay to set up and maintain this service, but it would've been nice if they just provided it for free. Not much chance of getting free stuff unless your company is called Valve or CD-Projekt these days.

You do realize Sony doesn't own the publishing rights to everything ever published on a UMD right? Also that they didn't need to do this at all? Also you can keep playing the games you own on the system you bought them for? You could also sell your PSP games and use that money to buy the digital version.

Posted by mariokart64fan

why are people complaining about getting a digital copy for free, you are not entitled to that, just play the game for the system you bought it for , i thought vita ment new games you know what i say instead of whining about the vita how bout not buying one ? seams like the logical thing for you to do if it does not do somthing you want , thats like what many people who bought wii did- complain , and all i gotta say is, gonna complain dont buy it , end of story dont need to cry about it cause that aint gonna stop sony, microsoft or nintendo from charging , and like many has said just cause you bought the cd/umd version does not mean you get the dl copy for free , never worked that way , and im glad because you know what i dont want digital download for consoles, cause that will suck ,, -paying 60 freakin dollars with no manual or collection what so ever no thanks

Posted by subyman

Uhm... no thanks. I'll just keep my old PSP around for free.

Posted by MideonNViscera

Well it sounds ok for the cheap games, but $20 just to turn something digital that you already own? What part of this is meant to discourage piracy? haha

Posted by KaneRobot

@mariokart64fan said:

why are people complaining about getting a digital copy for free, you are not entitled to that, just play the game for the system you bought it for ,

Probably because this isn't 2007 anymore and companies should be far more open to letting users who have purchased their products play it across advancing platforms when the technology is there, which it clearly is here. Nintendo is by far the worst offender at the moment but clearly Sony hasn't gotten the message either.

Charging 20 bucks is a fucking joke. I could see paying a few bucks as a convienence charge, but even the 6.50 seems a bit high. Five bucks a game, no matter what the title, would be fair and probably still rake in a lot of money for Sony, who has to spend next to nothing for this service.

Posted by MrOldboy

If there cheap enough (the digital versions), this seems like a good tactic to at least get some sort of revenue from some used game sales, or even convert some pirates if a used game + digital version is cheap enough.

Posted by Ulong

To play a game that I allready own, and can allready play on my psp, 20 dollars seems like alot just to play it on a slightly different handheld.

Posted by sopranosfan

Honestly they probably don't care if you pass around a single used copy because you are paying $6.50-$20 for games that cost $10-30 new so to them it is basically a sale price where they get money that they probably wouldn't get anyway and with the reduced cost of digital games I am sure nothing would make the publishers happier than a bunch of people passing around a game and think they are getting one over on them while all the time probably making more profit on the digital version than they would the physical copy.

Posted by Contrarian

Meh. Sony have no obligation to make their new systems BC. They didn't (of sorts) with the PS3 and now everyone is releasing old PS2 games (with HD updates) for us to buy all over again. I don't see the problem. I will just continue to play my 50ish UMD games on my 2 PSPs and just buy new games designed for the PSV when I get around to owning one. It isn't like we are forced to buy the games again.

Posted by Nicky92

Handheld gamings dead. Playing games on the big screen with the good sound system is how to play games.

Posted by Contrarian

@Nicky92 said:

Handheld gamings dead. Playing games on the big screen with the good sound system is how to play games.

We can do both. They are both equally awesome.

Posted by LegendaryChopChop

@BionicRadd said:

@Peanut said:

Fuck that. Paying $6-$20 for a game I already own isn't reasonable at all.

I bought Max Payne on CD Rom years ago. Therefore, Steam should let me have it for free!

I own a Super Mario Brothers NES Cart. The Wii Ware version should not cost me anything.

You own the UMD version. You do not own the Digital Version. Owning a CD doesn't mean you have the right to go on Itunes and download it without paying.

My suggestion is anyone that wants digital versions of these games should start hocking them on ebay and using the money they get from the sales to buy the PSN versions (or socking the money away to do so later). From where I am sitting, I see that i can buy a Vita, register my wife's copy of Darkstalkers and get that for my Vita on the cheap. Sounds like a win to me.

You got it right, my man.

Posted by act26
Posted by uomoartificiale

usually backwar compatibility is a smart tactic for hardware companies to ensure that people will buy their next console at launch, based on the idea that the new console will retain the old library of games while the new one is still to come. BC is maily a favor they do for themselves, and it is reflected in sales to early adopters.

Now they are charging you to support this move. I don't see how they can make a profit like this if they discourage their first supporters (the one who get the worst revision of their product). They are asking for low sales.

Maybe the customers is not entitled to anything, but this is not a smart move either...

Posted by Makoto_Mizuhara_Sakamoto

Sunnuva bitch... at LEAST $6.50 US if this goes stateside?

Posted by BionicRadd

@uomoartificiale said:

usually backwar compatibility is a smart tactic for hardware companies to ensure that people will buy their next console at launch, based on the idea that the new console will retain the old library of games while the new one is still to come. BC is maily a favor they do for themselves, and it is reflected in sales to early adopters.

Now they are charging you to support this move. I don't see how they can make a profit like this if they discourage their first supporters (the one who get the worst revision of their product). They are asking for low sales.

Maybe the customers is not entitled to anything, but this is not a smart move either...

The Vita is 100% backwards compatible with all PSN purchases. You are not paying to play PSP games on a Vita. You are paying to get a digital version of a game you previously bought as physical media. This is no different then you buying a game and them releasing a GOTY edition of it a year or two later. You are entitled to the physical media version you already own and nothing more. As I said, if the "trade-in" scheme doesnt tickle your fancy, sell the games on ebay and use that money to buy the digital version.

Holy crap, people have a messed up sense of entitlement, these days.

Posted by AjayRaz
@VinceNotVance said:

Not a bad idea. I have a small amount of I'd love to play on a Vita (mostly, Square's stuff like Crisis Core & Dissidia); it'd be nice not to have to dig out my PSP to play some games.

Doubt that one of my all-time favorite games, Chili Con Carnage, will see release through this program though, which kinda sucks.

wow. someone else that has played Chili Con Carnage?  
 
right on, Vince! 
Posted by ApexDefect

This just made me proud to not have an extensive UMD library. I'll admit being interested in Vita but I'm going to wait. I almost regret my current PSP, not making the same mistake twice.

Posted by Warchief

pay to access a game you already own. that's fucking stupid.

Posted by Starclopsofish

Wait you get to KEEP your old UMDs? Awesome. This is actually better than any outcome I expected. For those of you concerned about losing saves, in my experience, UMD saves seem to work flawlessly with digital versions. And for everyone who's bitching about not getting downloads for free, keep in mind the publishers have as much say in this as Sony- deals must be negotiated with them individually. Just sell your UMDs (if you don't care about collecting games like I do) and you'll recover most of the fee.

Posted by xbob42

@BionicRadd said:

The Vita is 100% backwards compatible with all PSN purchases. You are not paying to play PSP games on a Vita. You are paying to get a digital version of a game you previously bought as physical media. This is no different then you buying a game and them releasing a GOTY edition of it a year or two later. You are entitled to the physical media version you already own and nothing more. As I said, if the "trade-in" scheme doesnt tickle your fancy, sell the games on ebay and use that money to buy the digital version.

Holy crap, people have a messed up sense of entitlement, these days.

What a meek response. Of course people have a sense of entitlement, these companies exist solely because of us, the consumer. They are not our benevolent benefactors that spend all their free time trying to please us, and likewise we should not spend all of our free time accepting whatever they throw our way.

Take Steam, for example. I can buy a physical copy of a game (If I hate myself.) and have both that and the Steam version for no additional charge. Bandwidth is dirt cheap right now, largely because everything is going digital. If Sony wants to get people into the PSN shop to actually buy shit, then they need a hook that makes sense, and letting us pay to have digital versions of our games is not the fucking way to go about it.

Let people register and download digital versions for free, while at the same time seeing the shop and what it offers, thereby making customers happy that they now have a digital version (A loyal customer is a valuable customer, and a loyal customer is only born from a happy customer.) and that same happy customer may now express an interest in everything else in the shop.

As it stands, a few people will use this service, but they've created a barrier of entry. Lots of people have never explored the PSN shop, and this'd be a fantastic way to introduce it to possibly hundreds of thousands of new potential patrons.

Edited by Ujio

I wonder if this is just a really sleazy and underhanded way to get people to buy the games they already own all over again under the guise of "transferring" them instead. I'm curious what is the actual cost for Sony to offer this program and what money are they losing that they feel they need to recoup by charging per game to make up for that loss?

EDIT: Forgot about this part: "... it appears [the price] will be up to individual publishers to determine."

So it's not just Sony but each dev as well, but my question still stands just positioned towards the devs instead of squarely on Sony.

Posted by demonknightinuyasha

I use my psp all the time. Hopefully all my umd games i still want to play will be available and cheap ^_^ I still think I'm going to buy digital only for psp games though.

Edited by Kosayn

If I've owned Commander Keen for PC since the mid 90s, and I take that software and mess with it till it runs on Linux, or run it from a USB memory stick, or on a Mac, or on an Android phone or load it through DOSBox, or pay to run the same thing on Steam's DOSBox client, am I committing a crime against Apogee? Am I only allowed to run my Commander Keen on a 386 with Windows 3.1? I'm sure there's plenty of fine print in those shareware agreements relating to what future as yet undiscovered platforms that it's not okay to run Commander Keen on.

----

Hardware changes. And the pseudo-laws being made regarding how you can use software you paid for on machines you paid for have been all about protecting business interests for some time, and nothing to do with keeping software which you own a license to functional in the long term.

People who think you are only entitled to run software you bought the license to under the exact laboratory conditions prescribed to you by the company, are just begging for dystopia.

Is it actually $6-20 worth of work to move PSP software you own to a PSP Go or Vita that you own? Pretty good business model if you ask me, it's just about pure profit. But actually, I agree - they do have the right to charge you whatever they want when they're the ones doing the work for you. My point is that it should be legal to do that work migrating software you own a license to to over to whatever hardware you own, for yourself. If selling a car is legal, then custom building a car needs to be legal as well. Otherwise you get into different laws for businesses and individuals, and then where are we?

Consider the people that hacked their Kinects to do cool stuff on a PC and then put the evidence all over Youtube. I'm sure what they were doing wasn't in the agreement! Then Microsoft realized it was the best free nerd PR ever, and strangely enough, enforcement of those user agreements never occurred. That's what I mean when I say what we're talking about here are pseudo-laws. When they aren't relevant to the company's interests, they disappear.

Edited by jkuc316

In Japan, Those are cheap for games.

Edit: Just look at how much Japanese games cost in Play-Asia

Posted by Curufinwe

@KaneRobot said:

@mariokart64fan said:

why are people complaining about getting a digital copy for free, you are not entitled to that, just play the game for the system you bought it for ,

Probably because this isn't 2007 anymore and companies should be far more open to letting users who have purchased their products play it across advancing platforms when the technology is there, which it clearly is here. Nintendo is by far the worst offender at the moment but clearly Sony hasn't gotten the message either.

If you think Microsoft is going to give you free digital licenses to all your disc-based 360 games when the next Xbox comes out you're mistaken. None of the console makers can force publishers to give away their games for free. That's the message you need to get.

Posted by Contrarian

Considering how very little I paid for almost all of my UMDs - most about $10 because they didn't sell - paying $5-$10 for the few excellent games amongst them (Jeanne D'Arc) would still make them a cheapish purchase. Depends on the game and how much you really want to play it on the PSV really..

Posted by piderman

@Curufinwe said:

@KaneRobot said:

@mariokart64fan said:

why are people complaining about getting a digital copy for free, you are not entitled to that, just play the game for the system you bought it for ,

Probably because this isn't 2007 anymore and companies should be far more open to letting users who have purchased their products play it across advancing platforms when the technology is there, which it clearly is here. Nintendo is by far the worst offender at the moment but clearly Sony hasn't gotten the message either.

If you think Microsoft is going to give you free digital licenses to all your disc-based 360 games when the next Xbox comes out you're mistaken. None of the console makers can force publishers to give away their games for free. That's the message you need to get.

Except the next system is still using discs and might very well be able to play X360 games. The Vita can't hold discs so you have to hold on to the old system then. And who is giving away games for free? We have paid for the games, we just want em on a different medium. It's the same bullshit as VHS/DVD/BD all over again.

Posted by BionicRadd

@xbob42 said:

@BionicRadd said:

The Vita is 100% backwards compatible with all PSN purchases. You are not paying to play PSP games on a Vita. You are paying to get a digital version of a game you previously bought as physical media. This is no different then you buying a game and them releasing a GOTY edition of it a year or two later. You are entitled to the physical media version you already own and nothing more. As I said, if the "trade-in" scheme doesnt tickle your fancy, sell the games on ebay and use that money to buy the digital version.

Holy crap, people have a messed up sense of entitlement, these days.

What a meek response. Of course people have a sense of entitlement, these companies exist solely because of us, the consumer. They are not our benevolent benefactors that spend all their free time trying to please us, and likewise we should not spend all of our free time accepting whatever they throw our way.

Take Steam, for example. I can buy a physical copy of a game (If I hate myself.) and have both that and the Steam version for no additional charge. Bandwidth is dirt cheap right now, largely because everything is going digital. If Sony wants to get people into the PSN shop to actually buy shit, then they need a hook that makes sense, and letting us pay to have digital versions of our games is not the fucking way to go about it.

Let people register and download digital versions for free, while at the same time seeing the shop and what it offers, thereby making customers happy that they now have a digital version (A loyal customer is a valuable customer, and a loyal customer is only born from a happy customer.) and that same happy customer may now express an interest in everything else in the shop.

As it stands, a few people will use this service, but they've created a barrier of entry. Lots of people have never explored the PSN shop, and this'd be a fantastic way to introduce it to possibly hundreds of thousands of new potential patrons.

That key you used to add that game to Steam can be used ONE time. After that, sure, you technically have 2 physical copies of the game. Also, not every game allows you to add a key to Steam in that fashion. This is especially true of older software which I think is especially relevant to this particular conversation. My PC CD Rom edition of Max Payne has no CD key to input into Steam. If I want the digital version, I have to buy it. Same thing goes for a lot of my old PC titles that are available on Steam but did not utilize CD keys or any online registration. That CD key is a license and you chose to use that license to add it to Steam. Also, not every retail can be used to add a game to Steam. It's actually a relatively short list.

Since we do not know if Patrick's "pass around the UMD" scenario is going to prove true, it's kind of hard to fully debate this topic, but if Sony has no way of identifying individual UMDs, that in and of itself is a reason why they can't simply allow you to add all your UMDs to your PSN account. Not to mention, again, that Sony would have to get the participation of publishers for that scenario, which is unlikely.

Paint it however you want, but you are not "transferring your UMD games to your Vita". You are getting a new license for a different version of the game. It is truly no different than owning Plants Vs Zombies on PC and expecting to get it for free on the Iphone. The fact remains that most (probably all) digital PSN purchases will work fine, so everyone that realized where the future of gaming is headed will be set. You have the option to continue playing UMDs on an existing PSP for as long as you like.

Posted by Hawk456

There is already a similar program out there already at no additional cost ... it's called "Play your PSP games on your PSP"

Posted by Atary77
@Hawk456: I agree with you whole heartedly. Backwards compatibility is great but in the long run, you just have to keep the platform that game was made for.
Posted by Enigma777

Transfered all my PSP games into digital versions when the PSP Go came out so I'm all set. Not sure why people are butthurt either... It's not like Sony is making your games useless...

Posted by Tebbit

I'm pretty over backwards compatibility. When I got a PS2, I needed it because I traded in my Playstation for it. Now, and especially with the PSP, it'll probably be hanging around unused (just like usual, right!?!?), and is it really that much of a biggie to just play the few PSP games I have on that? The answer for me is: nope.

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