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Sony pledges commitment to UMD format

6 July 2007

PlayStation Portable senior marketing manager John Koller has pledged that Sony is still fully supportive of its UMD technology, despite reports suggesting that major studios have abandoned the format due to lacklustre sales.

During a discussion with Pocket Gamer, Koller asserted, "We'll never walk away from our base. Whether it's movies or game content, third parties have an incredible opportunity to utilise it".

"UMD possesses many strengths, from size to form factor to portability," he added. "Duplication of UMDs is much easier, cheaper than cartridges. We've really optimised time and cost by going with a disc-based format."

There has also been some speculation among gamers suggesting the company may pursue downloadable content in the future and replace the UMD medium, following a PSP firmware update that enables users to access and play software from their memory stick. Additionally, while adamant on the potential of UMD, Koller was keen to highlight its downside, noting, “There's no question the biggest weakness is related to porting games from other platforms. Publishers are concerned about the size of UMD because they can't cram a DVD game on to it.”

Konami’s Koji Igarashi offered a different take; explaining, "The slowness of the seeking speed of UMD is a weakness," further adding "loading speed becomes a big problem for UMD". On an optimistic note, Koller concluded that "UMD is a unique medium to create games, and developers need to understand that when tackling the system.”

“The future of UMD is bright," he said.


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