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Friday, June 5, 2009

PSP Go & our old UMD games

So the BIG question is.. what about our old UMD games?

I figure Sony's answer is, "That's what the PSP-3000 is for".

But this Gizmodo article hints that Sony might somehow offer some way to "trade up" our UMD games for digital copies:

So what will happen to all of your old UMD games if you buy a PSP Go? You'll be able to procure digital copies of those discs, maybe even for free.

I asked Sony's John Koller, Director of Hardware Marketing for Sony, what the company planned to do for their most loyal fanbase—those who'd amassed a large collection of UMDs but who'd also like to play these games on the Go. His response:

We're in the midst of putting together a good will program. We'll be unveiling that soon [because] we actually think there's a significant group that will be upgrading from the 1000...In the past, we've seen a 20-25% trade-up factor, and I assume that's going to be the case here. We've modeled that. So we're looking at a good-will program—a short term good-will program that would continue for years afterward."

Short-term for years afterward? In other words, the program itself will last for years, but these digital game copies will be tied to either when you bought the UMD or the PSP Go—such specifics were not made clear.

Speaking more regarding the technical aspects of the good will program, Koller explained while the distribution model was still in the planning stages, the user's experience would be similar to Portable Copy—a way in which Blu-ray movies can be ripped and converted from the PS3 to the PSP. However, Koller assured me that users would not be ripping their UMDs. Instead, it sounds like Sony will use a PSN-based digital distribution model will "encourage" users to sign up for the service.

But the neatest thing about Koller's Portable Copy comparison? Portable Copy is free. So we're doubting that Sony will charge for the service—though we have no confirmation. Unfortunately, Koller also slipped in that Sony's "looking at what kind of games will be offered." In other words, Sony's good-will program will probably not apply to every title in the PSP's library, but given that there are only a few that matter anyway, maybe this limitation isn't such a big deal.

First off, *UP YOURS* Gizmodo about "there are only a few [PSP games] that matter".

I'm not really sure how this will work. At best case scenario, it would be really cool if we had a UMD game in our PSP-1000/2000/3000 with the USB hooked up (or Wi-Fi) & connected to the PS Store. The PS Store detects & verifies your game, letting you download a digital copy of it registered to your PS account. Keep it on your hard drive & put it on your PSP Go or whatever PSP you own (up to 5 PSPs was the limit last I checked)

But that scenario seems overly optimistic. And even as a best case, as Gizmodo mentioned, there would be tons of games that just aren't going to be converted to digital. Despite Gizmodo's asshole-ish smarmy remarks that they "don't matter", I most fervently beg to differ. I'm sure there will be a bunch of great PSP games that won't make it to digital, so they'll never be playable on the PSP Go.

And all that's going on a best case scenario. Worse cases would be having to mail in our old UMD games to get email vouchers for the digital versions. Who knows if that'd even be offered in Canada, but I can tell you right now I'M NOT DOING THAT. Though if that happened, what would Sony do with a bunch of used UMD games? Can you say, "Fire Sale for PSP-1000/2000/3000 owners????" You'd think they'd want to recoup some of their losses for the things.

Right now, the games issue is my biggest problem with the PSP Go. The more I look at it, the more I like it, but I keep thinking, "You know what would make this really cool? UMD slot." I know, I know-- but I can't help it. The small packaging of the system just would be so nice if they could've fit a UMD drive in there too.



HerrJeff said...

I don't know about Portable copy extracted from BluRay discs, but because the PSP does not read DRM-protected files, I'm not able to play the digital copy of Dark Kight that came with the DVD I bought last Fall on my PSP-2000, nor any DRM-protected song I may purchase on any Internet store.

With respect to playing games, this is one big advantage modded PSP have over regular ones. I played LEGO Batman on both types and really appreciated how fast new stages were loading from memory stick on a modded PSP compared to using UMD. I would be really happy to upgrade to PSP Go if I could legally transfer any UMD I have into it.

Don said...

One of the biggest points of confusion with Blu-Ray & DVD is "portable copy" vs. "digital copy".

Blu-Rays may offer a "portable copy" which is transferrable to PSP (via PS3) After all, Blu-Ray is Sony's tech.

But "digital copy" which is available for some DVDs-- as you mentioned Dark Knight for example-- what they really mean is "for iPod or Windows Media Player (PlaysForSure™)". Common sense would dictate that the "digital copy" should be playable on ANY media player. But of course common sense never applies when it comes to DRM.

I've never played games on a modded PSP, so I don't know about how fast they load, but I hear there's a considerable difference. Probably dependent on the games, some games have long loading times.

Let's face it, no one will be able to legally transfer "ANY" UMD game. There's always going to be some UMD games that won't get the digital treatment. Will your favourite games? Depends on if your favourites are what Sony thinks is popular. But the reality is-- for a lot of us, we'll never be able to play our full game library on PSP Go. The question is, can we live with that?


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