Sony's official plans to allow PSPgo purchasers to convert their UMDs to digital copies are... nothing.
Ever since the announcement that the PSPgo, Sony's second major iteration of its PSP handheld gaming system, would do away with its predecessor's UMD drive and only be able to play digitally-downloaded games, consumers have been wondering if they would be able to convert their UMD libraries into digital copies somehow. Sony has been teasing a super secret plan to allow consumers to do just that for some time now, causing much speculation as to what that solution just might be. And here we are, on the cusp of the PSPgo's North American October 1 release date; a perfect time for Sony to reveal this super secret solution. Unfortunately, there isn't one.
Speaking to Kotaku, a Sony Computer Entertainment of America spokesperson said, "We were evaluating a UMD conversion program, but due to legal and technical reasons we will not be offering the program at this time." The "were" in this statement makes me worry that the company has given up on the idea of UMD conversion. That could explain why Sony is now offering three free games to those who upgrade to the PSPgo, almost as an apology of sorts. However, saying they "will not be offering it at this time," could mean that Sony is still considering something. Without a very sound conversion method, Sony could open up the doors to piracy, so the company definitely has to come up with something good. However, the lack of any method at all will no doubt turn off many consumers, especially in light of earlier promises.
The "gotta-have-anything-new" impulse in me still wants to purchase a PSPgo, but I can't justify paying $249 for a system that offers what I see as less functionality than the $169 PSP-3000, but with an added 16 GB hard drive. Sony itself sells 16 GB MP3 players for $130, so the addition of a hard drive doesn't justify an $80 price hike. Sony believing that it should sell the PSPgo at $249 due to a "premium" has already gotten some retailers miffed, and with the lack of a UMD conversion method as of yet the system is sure to be received by consumers a bit differently now.