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UMD Revisited: No Conversions for PSPgo

Yesterday we reported that Sony plans to offer three free games for new PSPgo owners next month, however consumers will need to keep their older models in order to registered for the PSPgo Rewards program. While the news brought little slivers of positive light to consumers pondering over a possible upgrade, Sony quickly diffused those hopes and told IGN that the program isn't slated for the United States. In fact, according to Sony, there are no plans to trade up UMD games for digital versions here in the States whatsoever.

"We were evaluating a UMD conversion program, but due to legal and technical reasons we will not be offering the program at this time," a Sony Computer Entertainment of America spokesman told Kotaku. Originally, the company revealed back at E3 2009 that there might be a program for owners to exchange previously purchased UMDs for digital incarnations. There was even talk of special kiosks that would perform the digital transformation on the spot.

The PSPgo, hitting the streets next month, sports a sliding screen, a compact design, large storage space, but doesn't feature the necessary UMD drive to play current games. Fans wanting to upgrade to the latest model--especially those setting their sights on trading up--will be left without the hardware to play their favorite titles. Without some kind of program, pre-existing PSP consumers have no incentive to move over to the latest model next month.

Still, the "at this time" comment sparks hope that Sony will eventually initiate some kind of US-based rewards program for current PSP owners after the launch. But given the backwards compatibility issues Sony has faced with the PlayStation 3, the possibility for a UMD rewards program seems more likely to happen five years from now rather than next month.