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How the UMD could have won

posted on June 1st, 2007 by matt

Last week Gamestop had a Memorial Day weekend sale where they sold all their UMD movies for the awesome price of $4.99. And seeing as how I actually own a PSP, I jumped on that one like….well, something that jumps really fast.

For only $50, I got 10, count ’em 10, UMD movies, and all of them are actually worthing of being watched. I’m talking Snatch, The Fifth Element, and one of my all-time personal favorites, Ghostbusters. Now my train rides won’t consist of me reading a book. Phht, like books are ever gonna catch on…

So after having a full week of watching movies on my PSP, I have to say that it’s actually pretty damn cool. The quality of the video, as well as being formatted in a widescreen ratio, makes watching movies on my handheld a very enjoyable experience. I started wondering why I never got into them before.

And then I remembered: the price. These suckers used to retail for almost $30 when they were new, which is $10 more than a standard DVD. I probably looked into starting a UMD collection when I first got my PSP, but after seeing the ridiculous prices everywhere for them, I’m sure I had second thoughts.

It just doesn’t make sense to sell them at that price. First, they are only playable on a PSP. DVD’s can be played on any DVD player currently on the market. Secondly, UMD’s can only store 1.8GB of information, making it impossible to add any additional content on the disc, like deleted scenes or director commentary. That immediately should have reduced the price.

What you got with the UMD wasn’t really that bad. If you wanted to watch movies on a portable device, getting a PSP would have been a good choice. It’s a great feature, and the price for the hardware is comparable to other devices of its ilk. But no one, and we can safely say this now, was going to buy the UMD’s when they went for almost double the price of a DVD, especially when they had less content.

If UMD’s went for $10 for old titles like Predator, and $15 for new ones like Spider Man 2, I think the UMD could have been a big hit. People would have compared the prices to DVD’s, and maybe gave the format a chance. That’s Sony’s bad, I guess.

Man, whoever is pricing Sony products these days, what business school did you go to, anyway?

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