In a recent interview with Pocket Gamer
, John Koller, senior marketing manager for the PSP, strongly defended the UMD format against accusations of waning industry support. Though movie company support has definitely dropped as companies try to figure out what titles work with the UMD format (hint: more Family Guy
and less Rent
), Koller says that UMD movie sales have actually increased 35% between 2005 and 2006 and goes on to say the sales increase "clearly demonstrates a growing interest by consumers for UMD movies."
Interestingly, he also mentioned that the cost to duplicate and create UMD discs is actually cheaper and faster than duplicating DS cartridges. Unfortunately, this brings up one of the problems of the UMD format -- the disc based aspect of it allows for cheap production but slow read speeds cause massive load time troubles for developers. It isn't a deal killer, but it something that causes headaches for developers. Koji Igarashi, the guy behind Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
, has had to deal with that first hand and says that while he was initially worried, it turned out to be something that didn't hamper the team that badly while making the much anticipated title. "[Game companies] can overcome [loading times] by technique – it is the programmers' chance to show what he can do," he said.
The most important part of the interview was that, even with an official PSP iso loader, a new possible PSP redesign with large amounts of onboard storage, and an upcoming PSP Store with video/game content, that Sony will not abandon the UMD format. "We'll never walk away from our base," says Koller. "Whether it's movies or game content, third parties have an incredible opportunity to utilize it."
[Via Games Industry