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PSP2 to lose UMD, build an AppStore?
His Twitter page reports “I hear Sony FINALLY has the PSP 2. And thank goodness, they’ve removed the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive. I’m excited!”
Perry’s sources are not clear, and Sony’s response across the blogosphere has been a firm “No Comment”, but it makes sense, because:
- UMD failed as a movie format, and has become simply an exclusive games format for the PSP
- The success of the AppStore (particularly with the iPod touch, which has Wi-fi but not cellphone functionality) has shown that consumers are happy to download content and applications
- Sony’s Playstation Network has achieved over 20 million registered users and sales of over $180 million, showing the Sony is making strides in digital distribution
By dropping the UMD, Sony will be able to reduce the cost both of the PSP 2 and the games, since it will have no expensive proprietary discs to manufacture and distribute and potentially open the door for more innovation and opportunity for smaller developers and publishers.
The change will cause some challenges at retail since there may no longer be a boxed game per se. Perhaps this will lead to the emergence of PSP “upload stations” in GAME where PSP users can purchase the latest games in much the same way that photo-processing stores now have multi-format card readers to produce prints.
If the rumours are true, I applaud Sony for dropping a engineering-led solution (the UMD) and embracing the download market that consumers are clearly ready for.