UMD Passport Program for Sony PS Vita Canceled in US

February 8, 2012, By George Lang

The Sony PlayStation Vita is scheduled to be available in the United States two weeks from today, on February 22, 2012. In response to pressure from owners of the Vita’s predecessor (PlayStation Portable), part of the device’s anticipated arrival included a backwards-compatibility claim by Sony that digital versions of the games purchased by these owners would be made available to purchasers of the new Vita for a nominal fee.

Sony announced the UMD Passport program to help meet this promise and just before the 2011 holidays, Vlad Savov of The Verge wrote, “It’s regrettable to see Sony charging to let you continue enjoying games you’ve already bought once, but we’re sure PSP users would prefer to have an imperfect option than none at all.” Unfortunately, even that “imperfect option” has now been canceled by Sony for all North American, Sony customers!

PlayStation Portable (PSP) with Universal Media Disc (UMD) Drive

The digital conversion process was expected to cost a fraction of what the original UMD games originally cost (between approximately $5 and $10 according to Sony). But even that option has been taken off the table.

Kevin Lee at PCWorld says, “The bad news is that this isn’t the first death knell for backwards compatibility; the Xbox 360 and PS3 have done away with extra chips to play games from the last generation of hardware and traded them in for digital copies on their respective online storefronts. The latest Nintendo Wii does not offer any GameCube controller ports, and the release of the DSi meant the end of the GBA slot. Until Sony reverses its decision or announces an alternative, PSP owners won’t be able to transfer their UMD library onto the Vita” (PCWorld).

For us at DeviceMAG, the “regrettable” part of all this is not that the games will not be transferable; it is the increasing trend that huge corporations like Sony find it necessary to make sweeping announcements about upcoming products which put lots of prospective customers in “heat” over the likelihood of an upcoming release, only to have it all ultimately turn out to be a lie.

There is no doubt that Sony’s marketing strategy for the PS Vita included this false promise in hopes of lining up sales for the PS Vita. How about “lining up” a follow-through on that mistaken promise, even if it costs you a few extra bucks Sony? That might make you think twice the next time before making such promises. No wonder corporate intentions are suspect by their customers.

Pre-orders for the basic PS Vita are currently being processed online at GameStop for $249!

The New PlayStation Vita Gaming Console

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