Analysts Michael Pachter and EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich predict that Sony’s next handheld will support UMD – or at least, would not be surprised if it did.
“I think it is possible and likely that the PSP-4000 will support UMD, and I think that Sony will support whichever formats make it the most money,” Pachter told Edge. “It’s an interesting dilemma. Without question, there is room for packaged products and the benefits of digital-only are probably more than offset by foregone sales of UMDs.
“I think that the next version will likely have both, with a disc drive that uses no power if the user is playing a downloaded game. The question is whether it’s too bulky, but my guess is that they can fit some flash in there, or equip the game with a 16Gb memory stick and consumers will be perfectly happy.”
On that front, Divnich feels that Sony would like to drop UMD but it might not be fiscally possible.
“Ultimately, businesses must meet the demand of consumers. If the PSPgo fails to latch on as a standard model for the PSP, Sony has no choice but to continue to support the UMD format,” said Divnich. “If Sony had their way, they would eradicate the UMD standard in favor of digital distribution. Sony’s primary goal with the UMD format was for it to catch on in other media players, unfortunately it didn’t.
“Sony has had horrible luck when it comes to creating media standards, and PSPgo is three years ahead of its time, the same way the PS3 was ahead of its time. Regardless of the success of the PSPgo, ten years from now when the industry is mostly digital, we will look back and single out Sony and its PSPgo as being the first console to push us in the digital direction.”