Vita’s PSP UMD Conversion Program Scrapped Ahead of Launch

Sony has a very nice piece of hardware in the Vita it will be launching in just over two weeks. It has a strong launch lineup and a lot going in its favor, but for seemingly every positive, there is some negative to go along with it: pricey memory cards, a confusing requirement for memory cards in some retail games, a limit of one PSN (SEN) account per system, an insubstantial discount on digital games. Now we can add to the list the inability to transfer PlayStation Portable UMD games to Vita.

With the Vita’s launch so near — it will be out on February 22 – it was starting to look like the conversion program might not make it out of Japan. When I contacted Sony recently regarding the subject it had nothing to say, although it has now come out and revealed the unpleasant truth: North American gamers will not see any form of the UMD Passport program those in Japan did. The news was confirmed with Kotaku today and means Vita’s backwards compatibility with PSP is limited only to digital games.

This is not the first time those of us in North America have lost out on the ability to convert UMD games into digital versions. Ahead of the PSP Go’s launch, Sony scrapped plans for a UMD transfer program that would have allowed existing PSP owners to build up a library of digital games for use on Go, which, like Vita, lacked a UMD drive. In lieu of this Sony offered a selection of three free games to those in Europe. North Americans were offered nothing.

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