Sony Explains Why There’s No UMD Passport Outside Of Japan

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 25th, 2012 at 7:54 pm,

Why UMD Passport Isn't In North America

One of the best things about owning a PlayStation Vita is having access to many PSP legacy titles. In Japan, Sony introduced the UMD Passport system to allow gamers to purchase their physical PSP titles at a discount from the PlayStation Store. This program has been absent in Europe and North America and now we finally know why.

Speaking to Wired, Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida says there were two main contributing factors. The first being that in Japan there is a much higher demand for PSP titles than in the States. If one looks at the release schedule for the PSP in Japan, there are still plenty of games coming out, whereas in North America, it’s (relatively) barren with Gungir and Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time being the only two PSP titles that come to mind as upcoming releases in the next few months, as well as Grand Knights History.

“Lots of people who are interested in trying Vita are also interested in playing PSP games that they might purchase before Vita comes out, and will not necessarily choose the digital version.”

The second reason is that in North America, PSP games are priced at a more reasonable amount. In Japan, PSP titles are sold at a much higher price, meaning there’s more value in being able to purchase the digital version. After all, there are many PSP games on the PlayStation Store that are priced below $20, some of which can even be found at only $5. Chances are that Sony doesn’t seem to think there’s much of a necessity for the UMD Passport, even despite outliers like Persona 3 still being $39.99.

“The other point is that when you look at PSP titles sold digitally in the States or Europe, games are sold for a really reasonable price. You can buy Final Fantasy Tactics for $10. That’s a great price. There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price. Because people in Japan are not getting the digital copy for free, because it costs us money to develop and maintain the system so we are asking people to pay somewhere between $5 and $10 to receive the digital copy in addition to what they have on the UMD. When you compare that to the price of games here, 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. 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. The combination of the new titles available, or the lack of, and the price difference, the company decided to do that.”

It would have been great to have the UMD Passport in North America, especially for those who want to own a physical copy of a game yet also prefer the convenience of digital. It’s hard to argue with Sony’s reasoning though, considering most digital games are already priced reasonably well. Let’s just hope we start seeing more discounts on still full priced PSP games to make up for it.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyMole

Source: Wired

TAGS: PSP, Sony, Vita

  • MacdaddyMiddleton

    I want a vita rly bad just waiting to see how sells are first. hoping for a price drop before dishing out my cash.

    • mr koolaidman

      Come back in 2 years, cheap-o!

  • Dave

    Atlus USA has stated that Gungnir has a release date of June 12th and Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time has a release date of July 24th. Certainly they could get delayed but I’m not sure why you said the don’t have “solid” release date. Also, XSEED is releasing Grand Knights History for the PSP in March. But those appear to be the only 3 PSP titles with an upcoming North American release at the moment. It’s a shame but at least the system is going out with a bang!

    • Anthony Mole

      Thanks you for that, I knew they both had summer releases but for some reason I thought neither of them had been confirmed – article has been updated to reflect that.

      But this begs the question, do I purchase Growlanser and Gungir for my PSP or as digital downloads for my Vita? This is when the UMD Passport would come in handy D:.

      • Chris

        Go for the Vita. They will look much prettier on that beautiful 5″ OLED screen. Here’s a comparison video that might help you make your decision :)

  • Kiltedbear

    “The first being that in Japan there is a much higher demand for PSP titles than in the States.”

    “The second reason is that in North America, PSP games are priced at a more reasonable amount.”

    What BS amount of lies. They figure that if people in the US want a legacy game we’ll pay full price. I know full well how Sony management works and it’s been the same way forever.

    • Reki3

      But, don’t people always pay full price for games?

      You think that PSP prices now are bad? From what I’ve seen, all Vita games are prices $10 more than their PS3 cousins. If they lowered their prices, maybe, just maybe, piracy will come down by even a little (hint-hint, Sony).

  • OnyxMagnum

    “The first being that in Japan there is a much higher demand for PSP titles than in the States.”

    Well, gee if you guys had actually released any games over here to begin with we wouldn’t have this problem now would we?

    • Reki3

      You couldn’t be talking about games like God Eater, could you? We were promised a release that then got cancelled. Then, we were promised a USA-only version called Gods Eater Burst…which was then sold in Japan and delayed here by over half a year.

      Of course you could also be talking about games like Phantasy Star Portable 2 Infinity or Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.

      Either way, if we are to buy games, THEY HAVE TO BE SOLD HERE FIRST!

  • Tyler

    It means that when the Vita has CFW, I’ll pirate. It’s shit like this Sony. I’d buy UMDs, I loved a lot of PSP games, but 30$ for a 4 year old God of War game is stupid.

  • Jay Gellman

    Any Sony is about to fire 10,000 workers, I wounder why they have sales problems, maybe is has to do with the constant disrepect for the US Consumer, They pulled this crap when they sold Aibo, then Aibo owners in Japan could purchase and download software onto special memory sticks, but in the US they pulled physical software from the stores and refused to allow US people download access. Now they do the same with the new system, I think Sony needs to say, our sales are bad, maybe we should try this and see if it helps, but no they just say on you americans dont want this. Once again Sony telling us what we want or dont want, shame on them. Electronic downloads are the way to go, they should take a hint from Apple and the app store.