When Sony launched its PlayStation Portable gaming device last year, it was confident that owners wouldn't mind forking over $20 per title to add UMD-based movies to their collection. Well, it appears that Sony's confidence is taking quite a beating.
Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment have put a halt to releasing UMD movies and others are including 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment are likely to drastically reduce their new releases or turn off the spigot completely.
Over at Universal pictures, one high ranking executive didn't cut Sony any slack concerning the lackluster sales of UMD titles. "It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb -- like Blu-ray," the exec claimed.
Even more telling is Wal-Mart's apprehension to the UMD format for movies. Although Wal-Mart representatives declined to comment on reports that the company will stop selling UMD movies altogether, things are looking pretty grim:
A check Wednesday of a Wal-Mart store in Santa Ana, Calif., revealed a drastic shrinkage of UMD inventory. Several shelves of movies in the PSP section were gone; all that remained were seven UMD titles sitting bookshelf-style on the top of the PSP section, with no prices or other information.
People are pointing out many reasons for UMD's failure in the movie spectrum. Some chastise Sony for releasing too many titles too fast instead of gradually releasing titles. Others cite high prices for UMD titles even though bonus materials were often cut out in order to save disc space. Another reason could be that Apple's 5G iPod pretty much stole the limelight in regards to mobile video entertainment, and that was before the UMPC craze.
Or it could be that people are just getting tired of seeing Sony introduce proprietary formats hand over fist. We have Blu-ray fighting it out with HD-DVD, Sony has even reintroduced the MiniDisc format and let's not forget MemoryStick format #194.