Sony has unveiled it's UMD Passport program in Japan and Patrick Klepek outlined in his article how this would work in Japan. It is important to note is that this program has not been announced for any other territories besides Japan. As Mr. Klepek outlined in his article the "discount" (the word discount is used in the add) price will be between 500¥ and 1,500¥,
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).
If we study the image on Mr. Klepek's story we can see that Sony is using the image of the PSP 1000-3000 models. So, obviously those customers who are using those old devices will be able to download the games onto those old machines. What about people with a PSPgo who still have UMDs from a previous PSP? Will they be able to use their friend's older PSP model to download those old games, or will Sony have some kind of device to download games to at retailers?
I like that Sony is thinking of ways to keep their massive PSP catalog still active, but it seems like this Passport program will inevitably be compared to the Online Passes that are becoming ever so prevalent in the console gaming market. Consumers who choose to do this will be paying for access twice, which seems a little dodgy. In the end, Sony is thinking about all of those PSPs sitting around in the market that have never ran a single UMD. I don't really like the sound of this program, but Sony has learned that the goodwill that they have extended to the users has been taken advantage of by those same users. I'm curious if this program will come to the US, and I am equally curious about how the Playstation Store will interact with future consoles. I guess only time will tell.