The PlayStation Vita will be released really soon. In Japan, the powerful portable console will be available on December 17, 2011 and in Europe and North America on February 22, 2012. A while ago, Sony had officially confirmed that PlayStation Portable users were going to be able to transfer their UMD collection to the PlayStation Vita. More recently, the company has detailed the program that will allow moving these games into the new portable platform.
Apparently, as the upcoming portable lacks a UMD drive, all games need to be repurchased and then downloaded, but those users who can prove that they own a physical copy of a game will get a discount when trying to obtain a digital version of a given title. To do so, a free app will be available which will register disks on a PSN account associated to a PSP in particular and once the process is over the game may be downloaded on the Vita.
For the recently announced UMD Passport program, most games will have a fixed fee of around ¥1,000 ($13) some of the included titles are Dirt 2, Gran Turismo, Dead or Alive: Paradise and even Patapon 3. Nevertheless, other titles will be more expensive, for example one title in particular from Taito will cost ¥2,400 ($31.) The reasoning behind the fees is still quite obscure as nobody knows for sure if Sony is using popularity to determine how much a game costs or if the developers are pressuring the company to raise the prices.
In addition, it has been stated that most games will have a digital version as soon as the PlayStation Vita is released and more than 200 titles have already been confirmed. Some of the companies that’ll be part of the program include Konami, Square Enix and Capcom, while others will incorporate a little later. For me it’s quite interesting that Square Enix is going to be part of this program, as the company has always indirectly refused to release digital versions of some of its titles. Although big games like Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, The 3rd Birthday and Dissidia Final Fantasy came out through PSN, other titles have never had downloadable versions. Some of these include the critically acclaimed Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII, Lord of Arcana, Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. If the company is seriously considering putting out digital versions of all these unpublished games on the PlayStation Network service still remains to be seen.
In the meantime, PlayStation Portable users can think about participating on the UMD Passport system. It should be noted that the name of the service may change in America and that the fees change according to the game. The program has not been confirmed outside of Japan yet, but considering that the upcoming Vita will be released a couple of months later in both Europe and American territories it makes sense that we haven’t heard anything yet.
The official announcement can be read on Sony’s website.
The English version of the announcement can be read on Andriasang.