Last night I threw in the towel, unboxed my original PSP slim-3000-lite-whatever-it's-called, and fired up the UMD version of Final Fantasy Tactics. The game's not available through the PlayStation Store, even if you're willing to shell out the $20 it tends to sell for new these days to buy it again.
Yes, I know the original PlayStation version's up there now. No Thanks. I'll take The War of the Lions, please. It's the version designed for the PSP, and feature for feature, superior in every way.
Kind of frustrating, the whole "buy-it-again" thing, but I'm starting to think the "can't-buy-it-at-all" thing as well.
According to Wikipedia, Sony's released some 628 games for the PSP to date. Of those 628, you can buy 167 today, or about a quarter of what's available in UMD format at retail or through used resellers. Conspicuously absent? Lumines, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Final Fantasy Tactics, Crisis Core, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, the Grand Theft Auto games, and the just released Dissidia: Final Fantasy, among others.
I guess we're supposed to be placated by the downloadable Dissidia demo.
Maybe there's hope. Sony's not talking when or how, but they haven't slammed the door shut on UMD conversion, if I'm reading this Joystiq interview with PlayStation Network director Eric Lempel fairly. (Related: Our interview with Lempel on Sony's PlayStation Store-Amazon partnership.)
According to Eric Lempel, converting UMDs was abandoned because
It's a combination of what's technically possible, but a bigger part of that is the rights to the content that's been available. PSP has been out for many years now. There weren't digital rights secured for all of this stuff, at no cost. So, there's lots of legal issues we'd have to get through to get a lot of content cleared. And also, we'd have to protect that content. So, with a good technical process so you can't pass around the UMD or do something else with it. So, it's a combination of things. It's something we'll continue to look at, but for the time being, it's just where it is.
"We'll continue to look at" sounds slightly more promising than "off the table" or "not happening," both phrases the company invoked in recent months to describe PS2 backward compatibility as a possible feature add for the PlayStation 3.
And we're certain that's not happening, right?
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