Friday, March 31, 2006


Finally, people have come to their senses and stopped buying UMD movies. Or, I guess they actually came to their senses a long time ago. Well, whatever, as long as Sony learns that it was a retarded idea.

I read paragraphs like these with delight:

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has completely stopped producing UMD movies, according to executives who asked not to be identified by name. Said one high-ranking exec: "It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray."

...A high-ranking executive was more blunt: "We are on hiatus with UMD," he said. "Releasing titles on UMD is the exception rather than the rule. No one's even breaking even on them."

"No one's watching movies on PSP," said the president of one of the six major studios' home entertainment divisions. "It's a game player, period."

They seem to recognize at least part of what was so stupid: The fact that you are buying a separate disc that can be played exclusively on a tiny screen.

Feingold believes the PSP's biggest drawback as a movie-watching device was the inability to connect the gadget to TV sets for big-screen viewing, "which would have made it more compelling," as well as the inclusion of memory stick capability.

"I think a lot of people are ripping content and sticking it onto the device rather than purchasing," he said.

But next week, Sony Computer Entertainment executives will begin making the rounds of the Hollywood studios to discuss plans for making the PSP able to connect to TV sets.

"We're hoping the format's going to be reinvigorated with next-generation capability that may include living-room or normal television playback," he said.

I like how they consider people watching videos off of memory sticks--a feature that both makes sense and is convenient--to be a "drawback" because it prevented them from selling more horrible little discs.

Still, I have no idea why an adapter to connect to TV sets took them so long. You'd think it was a no-brainer, considering it's the only conceivable way to give the UMD discs any real value.


Zack said...

Well, in North America, where the PSP hasn't lost to the DS (yet), the UMD sales helped sell PSPs before GTA came out. Without UMDs, there wouldn' have been much PSP product on the shelves -- Lumines, a red headed stepchild of a Metal Gear game, and several pretty competent racing games. I think buying PSPs made people feel better about buying their shiny gadgets.

Contrast with Japan, where nobody ever cared about UMDs, and where the DS was outselling the PSP by a large margin even before the DS Lite hit.

Anyhow, Sony's got a better selection of games now, so even if UMDs were a good value (ha ha), they're getting better competition for the customer's dollar now.

The *concept* of the UMD movie isn't any dumber than iTunes video downloads -- only the price point is retarded.

Also! It's expected that the PS3 will interface with the PSP, like the Revolution and DS. So it's hard to say what the fate of the UMD will be just yet.

I also will say that I don't see the appeal of hooking the PSP up to a TV is. Would you control the PSP with a remote? Would the PSP just connect the the TV with an awkward cable?

You know, a week ago I was really possessed with a strong, inexplicable desire for a PSP. Really thought about getting one, but I could only name two games I wanted enough to buy, and one of those was a remake of Mega Man. So I passed.

Kenny said...

Hooking a PSP up to a TV would be annoying, but then at least you could conceivably buy a movie only once and still enjoy it on both your portable and a real TV screen.

You're right, it's the price that's the real problem. Thing is, $20ish dollars has been established as something people will pay for a movie on disc--just not when it's for something so specific and determinedly unversatile.

Zack said...

In related news, Hollywood is retarded.

Are you aware of this CinemaNow shit? $20 for a download that you are not allowed to burn onto DVD. Or you could just buy the DVD, and have a nice package to look at, and the ability to let your friends borrow it, the ability to rip it into an avi if you are moderately tech-savvy, etc etc etc.

Kenny said...

Yeah, same deal there. Although I've always thought of myself as a big fan of packaging, but since I've started using iTunes, I've realized not getting packaging with my music is not bothering me too much.

Still, something about paying full price for media that you can't watch at your friend's house is a dealbreaker. Supposedly in the future you'll be able to burn it to a viewable DVD, but until then, the limited use will be holding it back.

Remember when the V in DVD literally stood for Versatile?

Zack said...

Remember when the V in DVD literally stood for Versatile?

Uh, no? When exactly were they not region locked?

In related news ...

oh fuck it, check my blog in an hour or so.

Kenny said...

Well, okay, they never were. But that really is what the V supposedly stands for.