AfterDawn: Tech news

Is this the end of UMD?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 25 Mar 2009 23:28 User comments (27)

Is this the end of UMD? Sony America director of hardware marketing John Koller has confided that the company plans to make "big pushes this year" towards downloadable games for the PSP handheld, releasing most digital versions on the same date as it's UMD physical counterpart.
The now timed release of digital games should force the quick death of UMD, the proprietary format that has been hated by retailers and consumers alike.

"Holistically, the idea of digital distribution fits into the world as we go forward," Koller said. "Not to say that retail isn't of extreme importance, because it is. But the idea of offering content to consumers, to make it easy, you can wake up in the morning, download something and go, it's very appealing.

"So one of our big pushes this year is to be sure that the right kind of content and the right kind of games in particular are placed on the PlayStation Network for download on the PSP.

"We've been engaged in a wide range of conversations with publishers over the last year, year and a half about software and games overall on the PSP. One significant topic that hasn't necessarily been covered a lot is inclusion of digital copies of the games that they're launching on UMDs.

"In the back half of this year, we should see a good rise in the amount of content that comes to PSN for the PSP. We're aware that most of the content thus far has been for PlayStation 3, and that's based on the usage model and who has been demanding that content. But as we continue, and there's more of a desire from the consumer for PSP content, we're going to really increase the size and amount of content that's available."


When asked about any set timeframe for the new digital titles, Koller made it clear that there are a few highly anticipated titles coming later this year that "marrying those launches with the digital versions of those launches obviously makes development sense".

"We haven't really decided how the timetable will work on launches that are digital versus retail, but we are looking at digital versions of the games that launch on UMD, yes."

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27 user comments

125.3.2009 23:58

I don't like Downloadable Games, as a matter of fact i hate it. Content to enhance the game i can live with.

if you cant trust me with a physical copy. then i want no part in your future business. make us happy make a miniBR disc.

226.3.2009 1:37

doubt ill be buying into the digital distribution...if im getting it that way ill take the extra few steps and get it free since i feel i in no way shape or form actually own the content.

326.3.2009 3:11

Damn now how am I able to get my games now? Australia has terrible Internet speeds. I prefer a physical copy of the game anyway.

426.3.2009 4:15

My younger brother has some kind of hack done to his psp that lets him load games off the memory stick. Anyways, I've noticed that this not only greatly extends the life of the battery, but also greatly shortens the load times.

Now I don't see how psp games on UMD are a problem for retailers. They take up just as much space as nintendo-ds games case wise. The UMD video idea was a failure though. It never did make sense to pay $20 for a dvd to watch at home, and then another $20 for a UMD to watch on your psp. But either way sony gets you even if you go with loading it on a memory stick, because you still have to buy sony's proprietary memory stick duo.

526.3.2009 9:03

I think its best (possibly more costly?) if they can just put in a digital version of the game in the actual UMD. So we'd actually buy the physical product, and then we can just install the digital version of the game onto our PSP's memory stick causing less load times, more battery life and yet we still own something physical.

Understandable to pay and download small mini PSN games, but i would never pay to download a full big game rather than paying for an actual physical copy.

626.3.2009 12:01

For good or bad, download content is the future in media distribution. Given it's ease and the continuing adaptation by the public. The only negative of DLC is that the Tech. lags behind for no other reason then that companies refuse to invest the capital needed to realize it's potential. As for buying dvds and then another for the PSP, there are so many free programs out there to convert your dvds that UMD was boungd to fail.

726.3.2009 13:56

wow seems like an interesting idea.
imagine if we were able to step into some game stop, stick our memory cards into a machine that distributes games for those who still live in a 56k world haha.

826.3.2009 20:41

A shame BWC and general qaulity and consumer friendly builds is dead....


On the up side once its hacked one can get run all free games!

926.3.2009 21:08

I would welcome downloadable games 100% if they weren't riddled with DRM. But thanks to DRM, downloadable games are a bad idea. It takes away rightful ownership away from the buyer. I don't like these recent trends that game companies are taking with online features. Charging people for extra DLC after paying $60+ is bullcrap. If you are paying that much for a game, you deserve the complete game experience. I don't care how much money game companies are losing these days. That doesn't give them an excuse to treat the customer like crap. The game industry treats their customers worse than any other entertainment industry. The RIAA and MPAA are seen as the epitome of evil but at least DRM-free music is readily available now and CSS protection on DVDs is tame compared to DRM in gaming.

Oh and Sony switching to download-only would alienate PSP gamers who don't have internet access. Why can't Sony just use some sort of SD card format for their games when PSP2 comes out? Sansa has experimented with selling microSDs with pre-loaded music. Sony can do the same with games maybe. Though flash memory storage as opposed to optical storage would make games more expensive. It works for the DS because the games are 256 MB max. But UMD can hold 1.8 GB.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Mar 2009 @ 21:28

1026.3.2009 21:13

Originally posted by inagasake:
I would welcome downloadable games 100% if they weren't riddled with DRM. But thanks to DRM, downloadable games are a bad idea. It takes away rightful ownership away from the buyer. I don't like these recent trends that game companies are taking with online features. Charging people for extra DLC after paying $60+ for a unfinished and under developed game is bullcrap. If you are paying that much for a game, you deserve the complete game experience. I don't care how much money game companies are losing these days. That doesn't give them an excuse to treat the customer like crap. The game industry treats their customers worse than any other entertainment industry. The RIAA and MPAA are seen as the epitome of evil but at least DRM-free music is readily available now and CSS protection on DVDs is tame compared to DRM in gaming.

Oh and Sony switching to download-only would alienate PSP gamers who don't have internet access. Why can't Sony just use some sort of SD card format for their games? Sansa has experimented with selling microSDs with pre-loaded music. Sony can do the same with games maybe.
Fixed for greater truth.

All in all its not to bad when you think about ti it makes not buying games easier once things are hacked. ^^

1126.3.2009 21:57

I still like my CDs, DVDs, BRs, carts and floppies over downloadable stuff... At least when you pay $60 for somethin' physical it comes in a nice case and stuff lol

1226.3.2009 22:01

Originally posted by Morreale:
I still like my CDs, DVDs, BRs, carts and floppies over downloadable stuff... At least when you pay $60 for somethin' physical it comes in a nice case and stuff lol
not from steam,ect, whats worse is if they go with a download only setup I bet in order to offset costs they'll rise prices.

1326.3.2009 22:38

Quote:
Originally posted by Morreale:
I still like my CDs, DVDs, BRs, carts and floppies over downloadable stuff... At least when you pay $60 for somethin' physical it comes in a nice case and stuff lol
not from steam,ect, whats worse is if they go with a download only setup I bet in order to offset costs they'll rise prices.
I will buy stuff of of steam especially there discounted items, Steam's platform can be busted once thats done you can just burn the files to a DVD. and like magic you have a full Steam less game with no DRM on a dvd.

1427.3.2009 0:18

What the hell are you guys talking about? The PSP is losing out to the Apple I touch, because you can get downloadable games off I tunes. This is what SONY is trying to do to survive. UMDs suck and Sony should have made the switch a long time ago. Downloadable games will probably cost less and help Sony PSP survive. The ones who are getting games for free are a bunch of crooks. Many of you yahoos said Sony needed to do something like this, and now you bitch and moan, because they are talking about it. If Sony is not making money you morons, then there are going to be no games. Get a clue. Anata wa Baka desu ne!

1527.3.2009 1:07

Originally posted by KyotoJoe:
What the hell are you guys talking about? The PSP is losing out to the Apple I touch, because you can get downloadable games off I tunes. This is what SONY is trying to do to survive. UMDs suck and Sony should have made the switch a long time ago. Downloadable games will probably cost less and help Sony PSP survive. The ones who are getting games for free are a bunch of crooks. Many of you yahoos said Sony needed to do something like this, and now you bitch and moan, because they are talking about it. If Sony is not making money you morons, then there are going to be no games. Get a clue. Anata wa Baka desu ne!
Anata wa Baka desu ne!

not me but maybe you are eh.

are you that much of a coward you have to call somebody an idiot in another language.

Game developers make games not $ony. $ony should be kissing ass that people are even developing for the hacked door stop.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Mar 2009 @ 1:08

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1627.3.2009 8:52

What kills it is everyone downloading their games on a hacked PSP and never paying for a game.

1727.3.2009 9:22

are you that much of a coward you have to call somebody an idiot in another language.

Game developers make games not $ony. $ony should be kissing ass that people are even developing for the hacked door stop.

Dude, you didn't even really answer my post. Yes, games are made by other people, but there is not going to be anything knew coming our way like a PSP2 if you keep stealing their games from other companies! Yes!! The way for Sony and game makers is to go the I-tunes route. You do want the PSP to continue?

1827.3.2009 10:13

I doubt that the iPod Games market is more lucrative than the PSP market. Also, one quick search on a torrent site will show you that people pirate iPod/iPhone games as well. iPod games are usually just small casual games. They're not going to take over the PSP, let alone the DS. Personally I see the merit in iPod/iPhone and cell phone games. When I go out, I always take my cell phone with me but I don't always take my DS with me, since it's more of a hassle. You have only so much pocket room on you. So on occasion, I will play cell phone games when I need time to kill. I tend to not use up all my airtime with calls anyway on prepaid so using $5-6 of airtime on the occasional cell phone game purchase isn't a biggie for me. But cell phone/iPod games are only good under those type of circumstances.

Apple doesn't have a PSP/DS killer on their hands yet. And even if one day we saw full retail-sized games like The World Ends With You on iTunes, I'm not going to buy that DRM-laced crap. If I buy something, I either want the real thing or a DRM-free download. I've bought a DRM download of a PC game before and while it hasn't given me problems yet, the reality is that I don't truly own that game like I do my game disks and carts.

1927.3.2009 10:18

Originally posted by inagasake:
I doubt that the iPod Games market is more lucrative than the PSP market. Also, one quick search on a torrent site will show you that people pirate iPod/iPhone games as well. iPod games are usually just small casual games. They're not going to take over the PSP, let alone the DS. Personally I see the merit in iPod/iPhone and cell phone games. When I go out, I always take my cell phone with me but I don't always take my DS with me, since it's more of a hassle. You have only so much pocket room on you. So on occasion, I will play cell phone games when I need time to kill. I tend to not use up all my airtime with calls anyway on prepaid so using $5-6 of airtime on the occasional cell phone game purchase isn't a biggie for me. But cell phone/iPod games are only good under those type of circumstances.

Apple doesn't have a PSP/DS killer on their hands yet. And even if one day we saw full retail-sized games like The World Ends With You on iTunes, I'm not going to buy that DRM-laced crap. If I buy something, I either want the real thing or a DRM-free download. I've bought a DRM download of a PC game before and while it hasn't given me problems yet, the reality is that I don't truly own that game like I do my game disks and carts.
You have to realize the cost of production is rather high even for a portable system, if they on one hand allow for "branded" memory cards(like the DS) and allow people to buy stuff online this creates 2 profit streams you have people buying stuff online and people buying stuff from normal retail outlets, hell with the right setup people can bring in their memory cards to the retail shop buy and load their game.

Past the lulzy POV of digi download only there is some merit to what they are going on about.

2027.3.2009 20:00

What some of you don't realize is that I-Touch and it's games are outselling Sony. Nintendo DS is #1, but Apple's I-Touch is number 2. Sony has to change it's ways or it's system is dead in the water. I-Tunes games are a lot cheaper. You hackers are a small minority, and I am almost positive that Sony is going to have games online only in the near future. It's stupid to be buying UMD crap. Sooner or later your going to get caught stealing games. Wake up and realize that your not more special than the rest of the world!

2127.3.2009 20:08

Originally posted by KyotoJoe:
What some of you don't realize is that I-Touch and it's games are outselling Sony. Nintendo DS is #1, but Apple's I-Touch is number 2. Sony has to change it's ways or it's system is dead in the water. I-Tunes games are a lot cheaper. You hackers are a small minority, and I am almost positive that Sony is going to have games online only in the near future. It's stupid to be buying UMD crap. Sooner or later your going to get caught stealing games. Wake up and realize that your not more special than the rest of the world!
The thing is its the way they make their programs they are making dinky 5-9$ apps and selling them for 9-20$. and these dinky apps are bought for phones much more than any game system.

For any "normal" game system those dinky apps will be secondary to the real games. Is live or VC out selling thier normal games not really.

So all in all they can accentuate profit streams by seting up a download system and maybe try and get some rev off of joining up with the I-stores, but in the end the end its the real games(or phone features) that will push sales.

222.4.2009 13:55

It's the Sony Doctrine all over again. Create a proprietary format that's not compatible with mainstream equipment. Can anyone say ATRAC3?

232.4.2009 14:47

Originally posted by jmex89:
wow seems like an interesting idea.
imagine if we were able to step into some game stop, stick our memory cards into a machine that distributes games for those who still live in a 56k world haha.
you have a great way to make money for sony/game stop. if they had a PSP download kiosk that held the downloadable games and you paid for what game(s) you downloaded to your memory stick. make it like the self checkout in walmart/krogers. there is the question of who that money goes to directly.

242.4.2009 14:53

Quote:
Originally posted by jmex89:
wow seems like an interesting idea.
imagine if we were able to step into some game stop, stick our memory cards into a machine that distributes games for those who still live in a 56k world haha.
you have a great way to make money for sony/game stop. if they had a PSP download kiosk that held the downloadable games and you paid for what game(s) you downloaded to your memory stick. make it like the self checkout in walmart/krogers. there is the question of who that money goes to directly.

Not really since the machines either have a direct connection to the net or a data bank that's downloaded every time its maintained (repaired,cleaned, upgraded, paper receipts removed) and that info goes to GS and the company that maintains them the licensing fees are pre sorted so everyone gets their cut almost instantly.

And having this as a option to going to their site and downloading it to the card. Its all good a sign of things to come least untill we have 10Mbit wireless or better everywhere cheap!

257.4.2009 10:08

There's a few problems with downloadable games:

* You need a MS with enough space for the game on it
* You can't sell/trade the game once you are done with it
* You can't borrow the game to someone else
* You can't transfer it to another PSP if you upgrade to a new model or if yours breaks because of DRM
* Not everyone has decent download speeds and some people are still on dialup even
* No guarantee of how long you can re-download the game for in the future

For the best of both worlds they should have some sort of system where you could download the game immediately but then they send you the game on a read only MS (with the exception of save games). That way you could get the goods promptly but not feel like you could possibly lose it in the future and it would also be able to be sold/traded in when you are done with it.

I think part of the reason that Sony is pushing digital downloads of games is so people can't resell them because they get $0 from all resells.

267.4.2009 10:13

Originally posted by treyjazz:
There's a few problems with downloadable games:

* You need a MS with enough space for the game on it
* You can't sell/trade the game once you are done with it
* You can't borrow the game to someone else
* You can't transfer it to another PSP if you upgrade to a new model or if yours breaks because of DRM
* Not everyone has decent download speeds and some people are still on dialup even
* No guarantee of how long you can re-download the game for in the future

For the best of both worlds they should have some sort of system where you could download the game immediately but then they send you the game on a read only MS (with the exception of save games). That way you could get the goods promptly but not feel like you could possibly lose it in the future and it would also be able to be sold/traded in when you are done with it.

I think part of the reason that Sony is pushing digital downloads of games is so people can't resell them because they get $0 from all resells.
Will there is a tipping point when it becomes worth those issues, a double repcite setup so purchases are log to your account and to your system ti ensure you can rte get anything you bought unless it is a rental which would time out after the rent time is up.

The other is a 20-40& game is reduced to 5-20$ but that wont be happening anytime soon.

279.4.2009 16:22
SLAYER94
Inactive

u know i had a psp a while back and i was playing GTA vice city stories and i tripped and my psp fell and the screen went black, it wouldnt turn on sooo i open the disk drive and my disc my chatters OMFG!! so it was the end of my psp :.(

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