While the PS Vita may be backwards compatible for PSP games, it does not come equipped with a UMD drive. Stay with me now, because this gets rocky… No UMD drive means that PSP games will need to be digitally downloaded to the PS Vita in order to be playable for gamers.
Of course, if you want to download games, you’ll need to snag a memory card for the system. Prices for those at GameStop were revealed late last week.
Sony previously announced that consumers will be able to buy PSP games in the PlayStation Store on the PS Vita once the system launches. For those gamers that already own a game and want to play it on their new portable, the UMD Passport application will allow them to buy the game again at a discount. Unfortunately, that means those of us with extensive PSP libraries will need to buy our software twice if we want to ditch the old handheld.
Today, Siliconera found that Sony of Japan released a list of games being offered in the UMD Passport program. There’s 262 of them (which is only a chunk of the PSP’s software library), and the discounted prices generally range from 500 yen to 1,500 yen (or, roughly $6.50 to $19.30). The roster of publishers supporting the UMD Passport program is a little limited, as Siliconera noted that Capcom, Square Enix, Namco Bandai and Konami, some of the bigger publishers for the PSP, are missing entirely.
For now, however, let this news only apply to the Japanese gaming market. Sony has not announced plans for a similar service in any other territory yet, so we may be seeing something drastically different when the system hits the rest of the world next year.
If this system does stick for the handheld’s international launch, I think I’ll hold onto my PSP. I have way too many games that I love to spend money re-buying them for play on the new device. My family probably wouldn’t eat for a month.
The PS Vita is set to launch on February 22nd, 2012. As always, we’ll have more on the system as it comes.