108w ago - While it's not surprising news, today Sony announced that PlayStation Vita owners will be able to download a UMD Passport Registration Application for UMD support on PS Vita consoles, which uses both cartridges and digital downloads according to the official specs.
To quote from Kotaku (linked above): "Starting Dec. 6, the UMD Passport service will start in Japan. Here's how it works: Download a free app called "UMD Registration Application". After that, enter your UMD game disc into your PSP, and according to the on-screen prompts, register your UMD via your PSN Account. The UMD will then be available for purchase.
Once the PS Vita is released in Japan on Dec. 17, you can then download the title on your new Sony handheld. According to Sony, the games will be available at an "agreeable price".
Currently, 40 game companies are offering 200 UMD titles as part of Sony's UMD Passport program. The digital versions of the games are priced anywhere between ¥100 (US$1.29) to ¥2,400 ($31).
Here is a selection of titles to give you an idea of how much the downloads cost on UMD Passort: Patapon 3 (¥1,000 or $13), Gran Turismo (¥1,000 or $13), Hot Shots Golf Portable 2 PSP the Best (¥500 or $6.40), Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (¥1,000 or $13), Dynasty Warriors: PSP the Best (¥500 or $6.40), Persona 3 Portable: PSP the Best (¥1,500 or $19), and Guilty Gear: Judgment (¥500 or $6.40).
This is not a full list of titles, and other companies, such as Konami and Capcom, are participating. Expect pricing and titles at a later date. Obviously, Sony did not disclose U.S. pricing, but one could assume that games priced at, for example, ¥500 would be priced at $5 in the U.S."
For those curious, PSVita will be released in Japan on December 17 and both Hong Kong and Taiwan on December 23, 2011.
A European and North American release are currently both slated for February 22, 2012.
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Sony: No PS Vita UMD Passport Program for North America
Sony has told Kotaku that there will not be a North American version of the UMD Passport program, which would allow PlayStation Vita users to transfer their PSP discs to the upcoming handheld.
Sony debuted the UMD Passport program in Japan last December alongside the release of the Vita. Japanese gamers can insert their game discs into their PSPs, register them on their PlayStation Network accounts, and pay a small fee to re-download their games on the Vita.
Unless Sony changes its mind or announces some sort of alternative option, North American PSP owners will have no way to play their UMDs on the Vita, though they will be able to access any PSP games they purchased digitally.
I've asked Sony why it won't bring the UMD Passport program to North American customers and will update with any further news or explanation.
Sony will release the PlayStation Vita in the U.S. on February 22. Look out for Kotaku's review in the coming weeks.
The big problem I have with the digital downloads though is that you can only download it 3 times before you need to repurchase it (if I recall correctly). Memory sticks do fail, and it makes shuffling data more of a hassle.
An external umd drive would be a novel idea, although umd seek/load time is horrible.
Spectral souls for instance: every attack animation needs time to load, making the battles slow and frustrating.