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Sony Outlines Why UMD Passport Isn’t Coming Here

Company pointed to lack of demand here, more expensive games in Japan.

PSP games are available to play on a Vita, there's just no discount for having it on UMD.

Given how much of a mess Sony’s UMD Passport program was in Japan, it seemed unlikely Sony would adopt anything similar here.

Wired spoke with Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida recently, and their first question was about the UMD Passport program. Yoshida said the decision was ultimately out of his hands, but there were two reasons it's not coming.

One, Yoshida said there’s more of a demand for PSP games in Japan, and despite Vita being available there for several months, there is still a steady stream of games being released for the PSP.

In that respect, he might very well be right. Given that publishers are not required to offer digital versions of PSP games and the pricing on digital versions, at least in Japan, varied from publisher-to-publisher and game-to-game, the inconsistency is hard to explain. Add the lack of enthusiasm for PSP as a platform outside its native country, and Sony may have looked at a potentially enormous public relations headache and decided to opt out.

Millions of people did purchase PSPs and PSP games outside of Japan, though. Bummer for them.

Two, Yoshida argued prices are less reasonable in Japan, which means spending a few dollars for a digital version would be much cheaper in that territory than outright purchasing a new copy of it.

“PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy,” said Yoshida. “But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system.”

Something tells me fans could have seen the value in spending a few dollars for a digital version.

That doesn't hold up.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
PSP games are available to play on a Vita, there's just no discount for having it on UMD.

Given how much of a mess Sony’s UMD Passport program was in Japan, it seemed unlikely Sony would adopt anything similar here.

Wired spoke with Sony president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida recently, and their first question was about the UMD Passport program. Yoshida said the decision was ultimately out of his hands, but there were two reasons it's not coming.

One, Yoshida said there’s more of a demand for PSP games in Japan, and despite Vita being available there for several months, there is still a steady stream of games being released for the PSP.

In that respect, he might very well be right. Given that publishers are not required to offer digital versions of PSP games and the pricing on digital versions, at least in Japan, varied from publisher-to-publisher and game-to-game, the inconsistency is hard to explain. Add the lack of enthusiasm for PSP as a platform outside its native country, and Sony may have looked at a potentially enormous public relations headache and decided to opt out.

Millions of people did purchase PSPs and PSP games outside of Japan, though. Bummer for them.

Two, Yoshida argued prices are less reasonable in Japan, which means spending a few dollars for a digital version would be much cheaper in that territory than outright purchasing a new copy of it.

“PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy,” said Yoshida. “But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system.”

Something tells me fans could have seen the value in spending a few dollars for a digital version.

That doesn't hold up.

Staff
Posted by OllyOxenFree

Okay Sony I'm fine with it.

Posted by theShatteredOne

Still would have liked the option...

Posted by Foggen

Oh the joys of being a late PSP adopter who bought almost no UMDs...

Posted by metalsnakezero

It is kind of a mess if your trying to factor if the UMD game is real or not and the way things are priced. I don't mind holding on to my PSP if I ever want to play the UMD games I have.

Posted by Istealdreams

Funny that when the passport was first announced giantbomb called it dumb and a waste of money, that now with a response that makes complete sense to me (as a psp owner) you basically call bullshit on them. But then again this is a vita article written by Patrick so I don't know what else I was expecting.

Posted by believer258

Translation: "Here is one somewhat OK reason and another half-assed one to explain away our greed lack of a UMD passport program in the States."

On a different note, am I having dejavu or was this not posted here a few weeks ago?

Posted by RE_Player1

Glad that I only have 2 UMDs. The rest of my games are digital and were able to be transferred to my Vita.

Posted by Nettacki

Eh, I have about as many digital PSP games as I do UMD games (which is a lot). So I guess I'll tolerate it.

Posted by RyanMatthew

I'll probably buy a select few of PSP games when I get a Vita, but I did not have a PSP.

Edited by patrickklepek

@Istealdreams said:

Funny that when the passport was first announced giantbomb called it dumb and a waste of money, that now with a response that makes complete sense to me (as a psp owner) you basically call bullshit on them. But then again this is a vita article written by Patrick so I don't know what else I was expecting.

Hey, I wrote that original piece, and I stand by it. The UMD Passport program is still a rip-off with an insane amount of inconsistencies, but something terrible is better than nothing, in this case, and I don't think Sony would have brought that program over here without reforms. Players would have raked them over the coals.

Staff
Posted by OldGuy

Square-Enix: We added quick time events to FFXIII-2 because people in the US wanted it.
Sony: No passport because people in the US didn't want it.
 
I want to know who these people in the US are.

Edited by Goldanas

I've been saying this from the beginning, most digital PSP games in the US cost around 10 to 15 dollars. In Japan, they average 25 to 40 dollars. The games don't sell well here, so they price them down, apart from a couple outliers like the Persona and Final Fantasy games which almost always sell for full price because those are almost the only games that are bought with any real regularity.

It just wouldn't make sense to have a similar program offering the games for 5 or 10 dollars (or 15 or 25 like it is in Japan) when that is already their price. Some publishers aren't even supporting the program in Japan.

It is absurd to expect this program over here, especially when the used market is as all-encompassing as it is.

People always confuse what this program was about. It was never pay five dollars down to get it on another format, it was more like get a small percentage off the digital version if you have the physical, which is partly why you called it stupid when they first announced this program.

Sure, any discount is a decent discount, but it's as if you haven't even looked at the store. The games on there are already heavily discounted.

CastleVania: Dracula Chronicles X - $15

Power Stone Collection - $10

MegaMan Maverick Hunter X - $10

Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier - $20

Valkyria Chronicles II plus all DLC - $22

Twisted Metal: Head On + MotorStorm Arctic Edge - $15

That's only a couple off the top of my head. There are plenty of great games for the PSP on the PSN that don't cost any more than 10 or 20 dollars. Not to mention all the sales they do and half off deals they throw up on PSN on a regular basis. Hell, all off the NiS stuff was up there for 10 dollars or less only a few months ago. You could have gotten ClaDun and it's sequel and Prinny and it's sequel for all of $34. They've got Sonic Rivals and it's sequel on there now for 12 bucks and Crazy Taxi up there for 5 bucks. Those games aren't the best, but they're decent and worth what they're asking.

I just don't give a fuck about all this bullshit that gets drummed up about this lame passport program that everyone hated when it was first announced. If you want to talk about problems, why not talk about how Capcom hasn't put up the character DLC for UMvC3 on Vita but bug you with it every time you load up a game? Why not talk about how not every PSP game is on the PSN? Phantasy Star and Crisis Core are sorely missed. I just don't see the reasoning behind complaining about missing something you were complaining about in the first place. It had it's problems, and that's part of the reason it's not coming over here, but there are many more.

Ugh. Maybe if I hadn't sold all my PSP games apart from a few, which now have updated versions on the Vita now anyway, I'd be more pissed. Or maybe I'd just be pissed about having to pay $25 for Peace Walker again when I paid $40 and it's $30 on the store.

There's always something to bitch about.

Posted by Istealdreams

@patrickklepek said:

@Istealdreams said:

Funny that when the passport was first announced giantbomb called it dumb and a waste of money, that now with a response that makes complete sense to me (as a psp owner) you basically call bullshit on them. But then again this is a vita article written by Patrick so I don't know what else I was expecting.

Hey, I wrote that original piece, and I stand by it. The UMD Passport program is still a rip-off with an insane amount of inconsistencies, but something terrible is better than nothing, in this case, and I don't think Sony would have brought that program over here without reforms. Players would have raked them over the coals.

The thing is Patrick, is that in this article you say that people would pay for it, but in your other article you say that it isn't worth it. You can say that they might change the program because of user outcry, but that is just speculation on your part that really has no bearing on the information in either of these articles that you inject your opinion on.

I appreciate your reporting, and that you don't waste time on the minutia in the industry, but sometimes you put your opinion on the news article that runs counter to (what i personally think) should be included in a non editorial piece of news.

Posted by CosmicQueso

I brought over my digital PSP games to my Vita.

Then I played them.

Then I realized that not only do I not want to play PSP games on my Vita, but that the PSP games also looked better on the PSP.

If you want to play PSP games, use your PSP.

Edited by Curufinwe

@CosmicQueso said:

I brought over my digital PSP games to my Vita.

Then I played them.

Then I realized that not only do I not want to play PSP games on my Vita, but that the PSP games also looked better on the PSP.

If you want to play PSP games, use your PSP.

You're really in the minority in thinking PSP games don't look better on the Vita.

Posted by Enigma777

@Curufinwe said:

@CosmicQueso said:

I brought over my digital PSP games to my Vita.

Then I played them.

Then I realized that not only do I not want to play PSP games on my Vita, but that the PSP games also looked better on the PSP.

If you want to play PSP games, use your PSP.

You're really in the minority in thinking PSP games don't look better on the Vita.

Yup, there's plenty of screenshot comparisons showing how PSP games look sharper and smoother on the Vita.

Posted by Redfield

@OldGuy said:

Square-Enix: We added quick time events to FFXIII-2 because people in the US wanted it. Sony: No passport because people in the US didn't want it. I want to know who these people in the US are.

I hear they mostly live in Kentucky.

Posted by Aoi

@patrickklepek: Except a very large portion of the games on the PSP store in the US are already priced at the pricepoint that it was originally believed most of the Passported titles would have went for (namely around $10). It would have been nice for some sort of program to have happened, but when it comes right down to it since a large portion of the PSP titles available are already at that pricepoint, I'm wondering how it's as big a deal as it's being made out to be.

Also out of curiosity, since nothing was referenced with the comment, I'm wondering how the UMD Passport program was a big mess in Japan. It seemed pretty straight forward (other than the varied price of course).

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

Who cares seriously? PS3 doesnt play PS2 games so why did anyone expect it?

Posted by Goldanas

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Who cares seriously? PS3 doesnt play PS2 games so why did anyone expect it?

To be fair, the PS3 used to. And people are upset because one part of the world is getting something and the other isn't.

Posted by HydraHam

@Bourbon_Warrior said:

Who cares seriously? PS3 doesnt play PS2 games so why did anyone expect it?

It used to, and there is a reason why i went out of my way to to purchase a 60gb after mine broke.

I care a lot, to the point where now i will just wait till i can get a vita $120-150. You may not give a shit but a lot of people do, how would you feel if PS4 didn't play PS3 games? if 3DS didn't play DS games?

Posted by troticielo

@patrickklepek said:

something terrible is better than nothing

Pithy. Nothing was owed, nothing was promised, and nothing was given. Outrage is the only logical response. That or dismissal.

BTW: you missed an opportunity to juxtapose this story with one about FFT hitting the ipad.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

@Styl3s: Its most likely the PS4 won't play PS3 games are the arcitecture of the PS3 is really hard to program for and the next PS would have a more basic arcitecture like a 360 or PC. Plus theres rumor that the PS4 is being powered by AMD were as the PS3 is Nvidia. Not looking good for PS3 games on a PS4 plus sony has made alot of money releasing old games new again.

Posted by NaCl

@Aoi said:

Also out of curiosity, since nothing was referenced with the comment, I'm wondering how the UMD Passport program was a big mess in Japan. It seemed pretty straight forward (other than the varied price of course).

Probably licensing related. Sorting out the licensing stuff for the US is probably going to be a headache several magnitudes larger.

Posted by xbob42

@troticielo said:

@patrickklepek said:

something terrible is better than nothing

Pithy. Nothing was owed, nothing was promised, and nothing was given. Outrage is the only logical response. That or dismissal.

BTW: you missed an opportunity to juxtapose this story with one about FFT hitting the ipad.

It could be argued that companies owe their loyal customers a modicum of respect rather than constantly trying to gouge their wallets, but I suppose that's more implied than forced. The worst consumer is your kind, who will accept anything with a shrug of "Well I don't want to look ENTITLED after spending all this CASH."

Listen, when we pay a company money, we expect to be treated a little better than this. They don't HAVE to do it, but it makes good business sense TO do it. Customers that are treated well are the most loyal customers and therefore spend MORE money. Sony will never understand this, which is why almost all of their business branches are collapsing under their own poor decision making.

But keeping making stupid posts like this where you believe WE owe THEM something.

Posted by troticielo

@xbob42 said:

Listen, when we pay a company money, we expect to be treated a little better than this. They don't HAVE to do it, but it makes good business sense TO do it. Customers that are treated well are the most loyal customers and therefore spend MORE money.

Cost analysis is too hard for multinational corporations, then? When we pay a company money, we expect a good or service. You got the former when you accepted the case with the UMD in it for what they were asking. This reverse entitlement notion is new and exciting.

Sure, people that get free stuff are more likely to buy stuff that isn't free from the company that gave them free stuff. But that free stuff wasn't free to said company. Said company has to weigh the value of those future purchases with the immediate loss they'd take on the aforementioned free stuff. It only makes "good business sense" if there's profit in it, and it looks like Sony didn't like their odds.

More simply, if you had an expectation that your UMD would be worth more than a UMD then I'd like to know how you came to it.

Posted by FancySoapsMan

I'm ok with this.

Most of the good PSP games are available on the PSN anyway.

Posted by CosmicQueso

@Enigma777 said:

@Curufinwe said:

@CosmicQueso said:

I brought over my digital PSP games to my Vita.

Then I played them.

Then I realized that not only do I not want to play PSP games on my Vita, but that the PSP games also looked better on the PSP.

If you want to play PSP games, use your PSP.

You're really in the minority in thinking PSP games don't look better on the Vita.

Yup, there's plenty of screenshot comparisons showing how PSP games look sharper and smoother on the Vita.

There are screenshot comparisons, sure. But in real life, holding the thing, I don't think the PSP upscaling is better than seeing it on the original PSP. I've got 12 PSP games on my Vita, still think they look better on the original device. Maybe I'm crazy.

Posted by SagaciousJones

Is that Monster Hunter image on the frontpage? Is there a hidden meaning to that?

Posted by SomeScrub

I love being stuck with like 40 games i'll always need to own an original psp for when they get more and more antiquated and would just want them on a damn memory stick.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

If you want your PSP games on the Vita, go and get a second job.

Posted by Jazzycola

@Styl3s: I'd feel just fine actually. Since I would still own my PS3 if I were to get a PS4. If I wanted to play my PS3 games I'd play them on my PS3. Same as PS2 for PS2 games(I own a slim and a BC PS3). I think the better question is Why are you using a device with a 3-4 hour battery life (3DS) to play games you could be playing with a device that has 9-10 hour battery life(DS)? I'm not going to argue that having BC isn't a good value but its not a right.

Posted by switchit

Please don't assume all of your readers is from the USA.

Posted by Shakezula84
@patrickklepek I still don't think people should get upset about this program not coming over or its original form in Japan. We are not entitled to the digital versions, especially if both were for sale at the same time. People need to accept the choice they made. Im not demanding Sony give me a discount on the PS2 games they are releasing on PSN (and im not hearing people demand that )fries because its a flawed argument.
Posted by Zoltar007

It would've been useful, especially since a lot of my PSP titles aren't available on the PS Store.

Online
Posted by eskimo

This is the one saving grace of having bought a PSP Go. I can get all the games I purchased on my previous system onto the new system.... for free :o

Loving me some Vita right now :)

Posted by TurboMan

Oh, so there's still no way to play original Lumines on PS Vita? I guess there's no reason to buy one then.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

That's where you are wrong Patrick, there is plenty of enthusiasm for the PSP in America.

All sorts of enthusiastic young people breaking it open and filling it with pirated shit.

Posted by McShank

@switchit said:

Please don't assume all of your readers is from the USA.

then where are you from? This was something about it not coming to the US ,, not about it not showing up in other countries..

Posted by CosmicQueso

@TurboMan said:

Oh, so there's still no way to play original Lumines on PS Vita? I guess there's no reason to buy one then.

Yes, the only reason to buy and play a Vita, one of the most amazing pieces of tech I've ever held, with an incredible screen, slick interface and actual, honest to goodness good games is to play an old PSP release. Yes, that's the only reason why a Vita should be bought. To play old PSP games. You're so right.

Edited by Floppypants

I'm not going to buy a 3DS until Nintendo figures out how I can redeem my NES carts for digital copies. The 3DS is a useless piece of shit if I can't play Snoopy's Silly Sports Spectacular on it, and I refuse to buy it twice. I'm not made out of money. They owe me for life.

Posted by NL_Buddha

So, you make a system, the PSP, and have poor sales because you don't support it with good software. Now because of that, the people who supported your hardware get left out in the cold. Poor move Sony.

Edited by UltimAXE

I have no interest in the Vita, so I haven't been following the passport system closely at all, but it sounded like an insane idea to begin with and something that wouldn't work outside of Japan.

To the guys defending Sony and saying that they don't owe us anything, you're right, but it counts for something when a company takes care of its customers. Nobody wants to re-buy a product that they already own. Blu-rays these days come with a digital and DVD copy for a few extra dollars. Giving people a break on PSP-to-Vita stuff would have just been an act of good faith and maybe won some people over.

Posted by TimesHero
@patrickklepek

@Istealdreams said:

Funny that when the passport was first announced giantbomb called it dumb and a waste of money, that now with a response that makes complete sense to me (as a psp owner) you basically call bullshit on them. But then again this is a vita article written by Patrick so I don't know what else I was expecting.

Hey, I wrote that original piece, and I stand by it. The UMD Passport program is still a rip-off with an insane amount of inconsistencies, but something terrible is better than nothing, in this case, and I don't think Sony would have brought that program over here without reforms. Players would have raked them over the coals.

PWNED
Posted by StitchJones

It stings a little but I am over it now. Honestly after downloading my digital version of FF IV, and seeing the upscale jaggies, I will just remain happy that I 'could' buy some PSP based games and play it on my Vita if I choose. I will just hang onto my PSP so I can play them. And of course use my vita for it's main intentions. TO play Vita games :-)

Posted by Drebin_893

I really, really didn't like this article.

Posted by Ulong

The fact that the vita just came out, and there are features that Sony doesn't think are worth bringing over to America is kind of scary, even if they're right.
 
Like, if I was someone who was considering buying a vita, this would be a big warning sign not to because it's a step away from a bunch of the games "not being worth bringing over" either.

Edited by phantomsnake

@McShank said:

@switchit said:

Please don't assume all of your readers is from the USA.

then where are you from? This was something about it not coming to the US ,, not about it not showing up in other countries..

You're missing the point. The article uses "here" to mean the USA and assumes you will understand that, though "here" means something else for some of us. To be fair, pretty much half the content on the internet is like this.

Posted by FoxMulder

Meh...I just plan on keeping my PSP and probably never buying a Vita!

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