As some of you know, Sony has implemented a UMD transfer program for the PlayStation Vita in Japan. But there has been some question as to whether or not a similar program would go into effect in North America.
Now, there appears to be no question at all: it isn't happening. As for a reason why, Sony President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida explained the decision; as he told Wired , it was mostly a popularity issue.
" I’m sorry we are not doing it in the States, but there are two factors that contributed to the decision as I understand it. I’m not in a position to make that kind of business decision. The system has been introduced in Japan, where there is a much larger demand for PSP games. 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.
So there is a lot more demand…to introduce a program like that."
Yoshida added that PSP titles sold digitally in the US or Europe come at a reasonable price. He cited Final Fantasy Tactics as an example; you can grab that for only $10 and as he said, "that's a great price." Furthermore, he explained that PSP games in Japan actually cost a lot more, which is why they "see value" in spending $5 or $10 more to get the digital copy. And so-
"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. The combination of the new titles available, or the lack of, and the price difference, the company decided to do that."
We can see why those with big PSP libraries would be miffed at the Vita's lack of backwards compatibility for UMD. But bear in mind that the Store is always there, so it isn't just Vita titles you have access to…