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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.
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+