The PS Vita does not use UMDs. Instead, it uses cartridges and digital downloads. The UMD is going extinct, putting current PSP owners in a bind should they want to play their PSP titles on the Vita.
Today, Sony announced its solution: UMD Passport.
Starting Dec. 6, the UMD Passport service will start in Japan. Here's how it works: Download a free app called "UMD Registration Application". After that, enter your UMD game disc into your PSP, and according to the on-screen prompts, register your UMD via your PSN Account. The UMD will then be available for purchase.
Once the PS Vita is released in Japan on Dec. 17, you can then download the title on your new Sony handheld. According to Sony, the games will be available at an "agreeable price".
Currently, 40 game companies are offering 200 UMD titles as part of Sony's UMD Passport program. The digital versions of the games are priced anywhere between ¥100 (US$1.29) to ¥2,400 ($31).
Here is a selection of titles to give you an idea of how much the downloads cost on UMD Passport: Patapon 3 (¥1,000 or $13), Gran Turismo (¥1,000 or $13), Hot Shots Golf Portable 2 PSP the Best (¥500 or $6.40), Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (¥1,000 or $13), Dynasty Warriors: PSP the Best (¥500 or $6.40), Persona 3 Portable: PSP the Best (¥1,500 or $19), and Guilty Gear: Judgment (¥500 or $6.40).
This is not a full list of titles, and other companies, such as Konami and Capcom, are participating. Expect pricing and titles at a later date. Obviously, Sony did not disclose U.S. pricing, but one could assume that games priced at, for example, ¥500 would be priced at $5 in the U.S.
As mentioned above, the PlayStation Vita goes on sale in Japan on Dec. 17. It launches in North America and in Europe next year on Feb. 22.