We've talked a lot here about Sony's UMD Passport program, which provides cheap digital PSP purchases in the PSN -- now SEN -- Store for those who register their old UMD games. It's the hardware maker's solution to the PlayStation Vita's lack of backwards compatible support for the PSP's UMD-based titles.
Unfortunately, PS Vita owners in the U.S. won't have access to those cheaper prices. Sony officially confirms in a statement to GiantBomb that the UMD Passport program will not be available in North America, with the confirmation coming shortly after Kotaku first reported the news yesterday. No reason is given for the move; instead, the paragraph-long statement shifts gears after the first sentence to talk about how awesome it is that the PS Vita can play upscaled PSP games.
Read the full statement after the jump. I warn you though: it's just going to make you angrier.
"SCEA will not be offering the UMD Passport program. U.S. consumers who already own digital versions of select PSP titles will be able to seamlessly transfer those games to their PS Vita system. What's great for PS Vita owners is that they can enjoy PSP games with upscaled video quality that's ideal for the system's 5-inch OLED screen, along with controls that are optimized for its features such as the dual analog sticks. More than 250 PSP titles (including minis) will be available at the launch of PS Vita, and hundreds of additional titles will be available post-launch."
In fairness, the UMD Passport has been the subject of criticism because of its inconsistent pricing. No one wants to pay twice for a game that they picked up in the last five or so years, but some kind of discount is better than no discount at all.
There might be perfectly legitimate reasons for Sony not offering the program to its U.S. customers, but that statement serves as little more than a terse official confirmation of the news followed by a shameless plug for full-priced PSP digital products. We almost certainly haven't heard the last of this, as Sony execs will soon be facing the U.S. press in the yearly gauntlet of trade shows.