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Sony explains why the UMD Passport is Japan-only

With the PlayStation Vita now released internationally and Sony adamant that the UMD passport program is not headed for anywhere else outside Japan, you might be wondering for the reason why this is the case.  Despite the success of the the PlayStation Portable’s UMD platform over the digital releases, many PSP fans are wondering why the only way for PSP existing users to legitimately migrate from their current UMD collection over to the Vita isn’t going overseas.

According to Wired’s interview with Shuhei Yoshida, Sony president of worldwide studios there are two reasons why the program isn’t being opened to the international market:

  1. The PSP is a bigger hit in Japan that any other market in terms of games.
  2. Prices are less reasonable in Japan when it comes to gaming.

The first we can attest to.  Like most consoles, Japan’s PSP library is quite larger than any other localization market, most of them being titles tied to popular anime, manga and/or light novels.  For publishers, doing both physical and digital releases are a must to reach more customers.  Of course overseas that is not the case as several game companies are anemic at releasing their games on the PS Store.

For the second, when looking at current market prices for Japan, yes it is quite expensive.  Quoting Yoshida, PSP games are much more expensive in Japan, so paying between $5 and $10 for a digital copy in addition to the UMD is a better value. “But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S.,” he said, “we see less value in introducing that kind of system.”

However, agreeing to this justifies the fact that Sony is opening their doors to PSP owners on only one side of the planet and leaving everyone else with no other option than to repurchase their library at full-price or wait for a solution similar to custom firmwares for the PSP.  It’s either that or SCEA thinks that it can bamboozle the current PSP userbase into upgrading to the Vita and re-buy their current library.  Hmm..  What do you think?

source Wired

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