Sony explains lack of UMD-to-Vita transfer

SCE Worldwide Studios president says lack of demand, cheap price for downloadable PSP games in North America kept Sony from offering trade-in program internationally.

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Twice now, Sony has teased the possibility for PSP gamers to convert their UMD-based titles to play on digital-friendly systems like the PSP Go and PlayStation Vita, and twice now, Sony has failed to deliver. In a recent interview with Wired, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida explained why a Japanese conversion program for the electronics giant's newly released PS Vita isn't being offered to North American gamers.

The Vita has ports for all kinds of things, but a UMD isn't one of them.

Yoshida said there are two main reasons for the lack of such a program internationally. First, he said there was little demand for such a program outside of Japan, where the PSP still has plenty of new games being released on a regular basis. Second, he said downloadable PSP games in the US and Europe are cheap enough that offering the conversion program (with its $5-$10 fee per game converted) didn't make as much sense outside of Japan.

"You can buy Final Fantasy Tactics for $10," Yoshida said. "That's a great price. There are many, many games that are sold at an affordable price. 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 US, 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."

A full list of PSP downloadable games compatible with the PS Vita is available on the official PlayStation Blog.

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