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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+
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Posted by patrickklepek

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.

Staff
Edited by Xingwa

i guess this is good since all my UMD's plastic body that's holding the disk are broken.

Nevermind, DBZ was still in the PSP.

Posted by Chias

interesting, still haven't used my PSP in ever though.

Posted by Morningstar

I dont think anything could get me to use my psp again.Bought it at launch and used it like 5 times :P

Posted by NinjaCommando

Yeah I haven't used my psp in a long time too, the last game I got was the Star Ocean Second Story game...?

Posted by JacDG

@NinjaCommando said:

Yeah I haven't used my psp in a long time too, the last game I got was the Star Ocean Second Story game...?

Me too, lol, same game and all.

Posted by JJOR64

Glad they are doing this for the hardcore PSP users.

Posted by leejunfan83

I will pay 6 but 20 is too much

Edited by stalefishies

Sure, you talk about games, but what about my extensive collection of UMD movies???

Posted by Video_Game_King

Crap. I thought this would be a way of downloading UMD games to your Vita, instead of the other way around. I know, piracy, but I still want access to the PSP library if I'm getting Vita.

Posted by Hot_Karl

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.

Posted by Gerhabio

What is the one exception, Patrick!

Posted by hagridore

Will be interesting to see if Square Enix actually supports this.

Posted by Scrumdidlyumptious
@stalefishies said:
Sure, you talk about games, but what about my extensive collection of UMD movies???
You brought that upon yourself
Posted by LiquidPenguins

Should it be cheaper? Yes. Is it nice that they offer this? Totally.

Posted by Vitor

@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.

Posted by Rattle618

And people wonder why these assholes get pirated the shit out of them... they are basically making everyone buy their games again at a lower price. It`s disgusting.

Posted by RE_Player1

Thank God. I have 12 PSP games that are digital, so they transfer to Vita seamlessly, and only two actual UMDs.Good thing those games won't be left in the dust, still have to beat Daxter.

Posted by vonFlampanker
Posted by VicRattlehead

the price should be free.... fucking clowns

Posted by 014

Doesn't affect me since I don't have a PSP and am not planning on converting UMD's when I get a Vita.

Posted by CharAznableCustom

I always wanted to give Sony more money to play games I already bought. This service seems perfect!

Posted by Corvak

I'm glad that this will be possible.

And charging for it was probably the only way Sony could get publishers on board. $20 is a bit high, but I can deal with $5 for the few games I really don't want to worry about losing.

Posted by MisterMouse

that kind of sucks that you have to pay for it actually... but how many psp games will you want to play on the psvita?

Posted by MrAristocrates

The good news? I only have one game I would use this for, P3P. The bad news? I'm probably going to lose my save files, aren't I?

Posted by mosespippy

I wonder if Lumines will be supported. I figure if they make it easy to get the PSP game on the Vita it could cannibalize sales of the Vita version. If Ubisoft figures this out then they could decide to not support the program.

Edited by Dooftastic

It is nice of Sony to offer this, though those prices seem steep. The people that think Sony is forcing you to buy a game you've already bought are idiots. You can still play your UMDs on the system they were designed to be played on. The program affords you the ability to buy whole new digital versions of games for a cheaper price that can be played on the new hardware.

Posted by TehFlan

$6 is the low end? Wat.

Posted by gla55jAw

Rip off. Paying over $2 for a game I already own.

Posted by Gareff

Well the price gap between games I guess is to put people off from buying the game pre-owned and then transferring it at a low cost instead of buying it full price from the store????

But then again does anywhere still sell PSP UMD games??????? :P

Posted by Captain_Felafel

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*

Online
Posted by guiseppe

Should have been free. Or at least a small fee for the software and then the ability to transfer whatever game you may have for no cost.

Posted by JimmyPancakes

@014 said:

Doesn't affect me since I don't have a PSP and am not planning on converting UMD's when I get a Vita.

Fascinating.

Posted by lead_farmer

Not fond of having to pay, but if it means putting Tactics Ogre on my Vita I'll bite.

Posted by 014
@JimmyPancakes said:

@014 said:

Doesn't affect me since I don't have a PSP and am not planning on converting UMD's when I get a Vita.

Fascinating.

I know.
Posted by Maotou

Well this is nice I guess. Can't say I'm going to throw money down for every PSP game I have just to play them all again on my PSP, but there's defiantly a couple I would like to bring over to Vita. Only thing I don't like is possibly being charged $20 to get a digital version of a game I bought (or being charged at all), but an option is an option.

Posted by KamasamaK

@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*

The money is going through Sony and they are facilitating the process, but the majority of it will go to the publisher. The variations in pricing seem to indicate that is who sets the prices.

I guess this could be viewed as a re-licensing fee akin to when Rock Band allowed us to export/import songs licensed from one game to another. Near the end of the article, Patrick points out a problem that I do not think they have a solution for, which is that a UMD can be registered to anyone since I am pretty sure they do not have a unique identifier. In that case, it makes sense that they would want to charge something. They aren't even obliged to do this program at all, but it is somewhat of a goodwill gesture to discount games they assume you own. That said, I do not think I'd pay more than $10 for a game I already purchased.

Posted by dvorak

"Or just wait until we start our PSP CLASSICS program and release them all for even more money. The choice is yours.~~"

Edited by BisonHero

@guiseppe said:

Should have been free. Or at least a small fee for the software and then the ability to transfer whatever game you may have for no cost.

It would make no sense to have a single, one-time fee.

The reason Rock Band has a single, one-time fee to import songs is that Harmonix knows exactly what songs are on say Rock Band 1, so you pay the $5, and Harmonix passes that on to record companies, because that money is basically required to update the license from "Harmonix may use these songs in Rock Band 1 only" to "Harmonix may use these songs in all future Rock Band games". So it ends up being a few cents for each individual song.

But you can't have that same flat fee for all your PSP games. It's the same thing, in that you're updating the license from "Sony may put this game software on a UMD" to "Sony may put this game software on a UMD and as a digital download". But in the Rock Band situation, Harmonix knew exactly what songs were in Rock Band 1, and which record companies would have to be paid. In this situation, some people may only transfer one game, some may transfer dozens, so setting a single, low fee likely wouldn't cover the re-licensing costs when you take into account how many publishers would need to be paid to account for the guys transferring dozens of games.

Paying on a game-by-game basis sort of sucks, but I'm pretty sure that's how Sony has to do it. Hell, you were paying on a song-by-song basis for Rock Band, but that worked out to the same fee for everybody because everybody's Rock Band 1 disc had the same songs on it.

Posted by snipeshow_17

It's a business, both Sony and the publishers need to make money. For example it was free I could take a friends game, which i don't own and never paid for, and put it onto my Vita system for nothing. Sony is losing money and the publishers are losing too. However I do feel the money value for the digital version is a little too high. Also you don't have to download ALL of your PSP games, only the ones you like the best. It not like your PSP is going to disappear once the Vita comes out you can still play those games.

Posted by Bilix

Where was this when the PSP GO came out?

Posted by Nettacki

I got a massive collection of UMDs from way back in the PSP launch period. Looks like I'll have to pick and choose the ones I'd like to transfer...

Posted by Shakezula84

I wouldn't be surprised if they do nothing here.

Posted by gogobomb

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

Posted by Cybexx

Well its nice to have the option. There are a few UMDs I might consider doing this for such as Jeanne D'Arc, this sounds like a better system to me then trying to mail your UMDs in or whatever bullshit but I can see why they are also charging for the service as it would be easy to exploit this system.

Kind of wish the low-end of that price range was a tad lower since that is no too far off from just buying the digital versions of those games but Japanese prices tend to be a bit higher and there absolutely no guarantee this is coming to North America. I mean ever since Sony Japan, America and Europe separated their marketing decisions a few years back we have been seeing some pretty different strategies from them.

Posted by JillSammich

I was excited about this because my PSP's UMD drive is going bad, but now that I have read the story, no thank you. I know that publishers want their money and all, but damn. I already bought these games once. I'm not paying for them again.

Posted by Suigyoken

It's not entirely the end of the world, but it still sucks. I think the fees are somewhat high, and you can bet SquareEnix is going to do that $20 transfer. But I'm going to only do it for the games I must absolutely have with me at all times, so nobody is forcing you to do your entire library (if it was available.) The fees seem to be a response to the idea that people will probably pass around a single UMD and have their friends get copies, it just insures that there's still revenue coming in from that, since you know people are going to do that.

Posted by FancySoapsMan

The PSP has some great games, if this encourages more people to check them out then I'm all for it.

Posted by CollegeGuyMike

@msavo said:

Thank God. I have 12 PSP games that are digital, so they transfer to Vita seamlessly, and only two actual UMDs.Good thing those games won't be left in the dust, still have to beat Daxter.

Same for me, mostly because I came to the PSP super late. My UMDs are Rock Band and Birth By Sleep.

Posted by Lunar_Aura

@Rattle618 said:

And people wonder why these assholes get pirated the shit out of them... they are basically making everyone buy their games again at a lower price. It`s disgusting.

Can't be worse than Nintendo basically making everyone buy their games again at a normal or higher price :-/

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