Vita owners in Japan who've upgraded from a PSP can slap down a few bucks to get downloadable versions of their UMD games onto their Vita, but sadly Sony hasn't brought the UMD Passport scheme to the Western market. This, SCE worldwide studios president Shuhei Yoshida has explained, is down to two main reasons: the PSP market is much more active in Japan, and games are cheaper in the US.
"I'm sorry we are not doing it in the States," told Yoshida Wired, saying that there's simply less demand for such a scheme over here.
"When you look at the release schedule of new titles there are still lots of PSP games being released in Japan and being announced for release. Lots of people who are interested in trying Vita are also interested in playing PSP games that they might purchase before Vita comes out, and will not necessarily choose the digital version."
Tying into this, according to Yoshida, is the fact that games are cheaper in the US and Europe, so presumably players are less bothered about tossing their UMDs and buying digital Vita copies.
"... PSP games in Japan are sold at a much higher price, so people see the value in spending the $5 to $10 to get the digital copy," he said. "But when the games are already sold at a lower price in the U.S. we see less value in introducing that kind of system."
While there may be less demand for the UMD Passport plan in the US and Europe, by Sony's logic, there is still very much a reasonable interest in having it here too. It'd certainly be a welcome gesture to the PSP owners Sony surely hopes will upgrade to a Vita.