Sony Finds One Last Way to Screw US PSP Owners

They say that if you want to learn something about a person take a look at how they treat people they DON’T have to be nice to – you know, anyone from kids to animals to waiters and store clerks. If a person treats them poorly without reason they are, quite simply, a lousy person. And you can only expect to receive the same down the line. On the other hand, if they treat you AND others well, you have a partner you can count on.

I can hear you saying ‘what is it NOW, Anderson? What are you griping about this time?’ Well, I’m talking about Sony. Anyone who has a PSP Go remembers how, right up until the release of the Go, Sony was teasing the possibility of some form of ‘UMD transfer program’ that would allow users to get some value out of existing UMD games by trading them in or somehow ‘swapping’ them for a digital version. And, in fact, EU and Japanese gamers who had existing PSN accounts with registered PSPs got a set of three digital games. US gamers got … nuthin’.

Back in December Japanese gamers buying the Playstation Vita were rewarded with the ‘UMD Passport Program’, which was a special app that ran on the PSP and allowed gamers to insert a UMD, register it to their PSN account and then pay a small fee to get a digital download version (if available) for their account.

It seemed like such a great program – they were rewarding loyal customers, incentivizing people to stick with the failed Sony portable brand as it bled massive market share to smartphones all the while denying any impact and, in general, they were allowing users to keep playing their games while still collecting a fee. All of this while also making those gamers feel good about paying a second time for the “privilege” to buy more hardware and play games they already own!

It was such a ‘feel good’ move that you can already tell that there was NO WAY IN HELL that Sony of America would allow it to come to the US.

And predictably, that is EXACTLY what Kotaku was told:

Sony 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 would insert their game discs into their PSPs, to register them on their PlayStation Network accounts, and pay to 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 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.

So once again Sony has found a way to show the people who held firm to their PSP and supported Sony through all of the last 7 years just how LITTLE they think about them. Sony was given a chance to show goodwill, and instead, thumbed their noses at the loyal customers who they need if they don’t want to continue to bleed market share and lose money.

The fallout? I just canceled my (second) PS Vita pre-order. I’m done. I am tired of being treated like CRAP, Sony … I’ll wait until the Vita flops in the market and you are forced to slash prices before getting one… if I get one at all. As I have said – I have been there ‘day of release’ FOUR TIMES, for the original PSP, PSP-2000, PSP-3000 and PSP-Go. All I ask is a little recognition of the loyalty PSP owners have shown … heck, they got it in Japan, and the US is the largest sales market for the PSP!

What do you think?

Categories: Gaming, Rants and Raves

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