Sony: No UMD Transfers for PSP Go

By  |  Friday, September 25, 2009 at 2:02 pm

press-sony-psp-go-1Those who want in on Sony’s download-only PSP Go will have to leave their disc-based games behind, as there won’t be any way to convert games from UMD to digital form.

Delivering the bad news to Kotaku, Sony said that “due to legal and technical reasons we will not be offering the program at this time.” Sony didn’t elaborate on its reasons, but I can take a crack at it:

When Sony announced the PSP Go at E3 this year, John Koller, Sony’s hardware marketing director, said that a “good will program” to convert UMDs would be announced soon. There was speculation that retailers would convert UMD games through kiosks at their stores.

That sounds good in theory, but in practice it’s a nightmare. If a store such as Gamestop kept the UMDs after every conversion, it wouldn’t take long before stores become overwhelmed with used PSP games. The value of those games would plummet, forcing Gamestop to lower its prices, which I’m sure it doesn’t want to do.

Then, there are the game publishers, who’d have to agree on letting their UMD-based games get copied into digital form. That’s messy enough from a legal standpoint, but it has no benefits as a business proposition. Unless Sony planned to pay publishers for their cooperation, digital conversion would only amount to a lost sale, with retailers selling the used UMD copies instead of new ones (at greatly reduced prices, mind you).

In the end, I doubt there was enough “good will” from all parties involved to push a conversion program through. I’m reminded of how Sony once promised that the Playstation 3 would be backwards compatible with Playstation 2 games, only to have that support erode steadily over the years.

Adding insult to injury for U.S. customers, there’s a rewards program in Europe where existing PSP owners will get three free games for buying and registering their PSP Go. That program won’t come stateside, as a Sony representative explained that the U.S. has a “dual platform strategy.” In other words, don’t upgrade.


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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Anna Langella Says:

    This handheld is going to fail epically. It’s more expensive. The games are more expensive. Everything about it is more expensive while at the same time, the handheld is crippled in so many ways

  2. Richard M Says:

    Epic Fail on Sony’s part. I have an original PSP – it isn’t all that but at least when I get bored with a game I can sell it on Ebay or trade it in. I can’t play my existing UMD’s on the new machine so that means having to keep it to play my old games.

    But I’m a casual gamer – I play mine on the plane or in hotels when I’m away on business and need to take my mind of being away from home. I’m afraid my iPhone has taken over my PSP (only one device to carry around and I can charge it through my laptop or anything with a powered USB port).

    Digital only games are a nightmare – you can’t sell them on, you run the risk of losing them if your device blows up. I can’t see Sony doing an iTunes and letting you install one game on multiple devices a la iTunes authorised computers.

    And the whole reason the PSP is only such a so so games machine is basically, too many games were PS2 ports made to run on big(ish) TV’s using a proper controller. They are too complex to port over to a tiny screen with badly laid out controls. I’m no Apple fanboy, but I can’t help but think the iPhone iPod Touch really will take market share of Sony (may not Nintendo) as the games are very cheap and playable.

    I’m not sure what Sony were thinking with this one………..

  3. Backlin Says:

    I have an idea. It requires an older PSP to work.

    It pretty much involves plugging both the Go and the older model into USB ports on a computer. Then, the user loads up a program that has access to the UMD drive in the older model. This program makes a clone of the disk, makes it runable, attaches the PSP Go’s serial number in a random sequence designed for a security check (this is the key thing here), and puts the contents on the PSP Go’s flash memory.

    There are flaws here though, as the inevitable hacked firmware for the PSP Go may omit these security checks; or a plugin or mod to the firmware may do this.

  4. Seumas Says:

    I briefly considered finally buying a PSP (the Go), but this will dissuade me from it. It’s also the reason I won’t buy DSiWare on the Nintendo DSi. If all I’m buying is the license to play your game which can be revoked at your leisure (and it’s tied not to my account, but to my device), then what’s in it for me? What happens a decade from now when I come back to play stuff and none of it works, because the memory unit is fuzzed?

    More obscurely, what happens to videogame collecting when there is no longer anything to collect, because it’s all digital?

  5. epifano82 Says:

    It’s not really any different then the Ipod+Itunes and I’ve been living with that just fine for many years now, keep a backup of your data upgrade your hardware when significant or broken and restore. Things aren’t going to go backwards were only going to see more internet connected devices as time goes, and the great thing is when I want to buy a new game I can just download it straight from the net. That’s just darn convenient considering I live 45 Miles from the nearest city, at that with a limited selection of games.

  6. Peter Says:

    What a joke !!! All the investment I have made in my previuos PSP games, and there is no way to transfer them to the new PSP GO. Sony – you are dreaming. Why would anyone buy a PSP Go ?

  7. dsi r4 Says:

    The playstation games will keep the kids entertained for most part of the journey. If you do not access to any of the devices, you can play these playstation games online as well. There are numerous Websites that allow you to play the playstation games for free. However, there are some Websites that also charge some nominal charges for allowing you play the playstation games on their Website. If you are interested in buying any of the playstation games, it is a good method is to try the games on rent prior to buying the playstation games.

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