Saturday, February 19, 2005

It's No Joke

Q: How much would a UMD movie, playable on the PSP, set you back?
A: You can expect to pay $20 to $30.

That is truly a hilarious punchline to one of the worst jokes you're ever likely to experience in the videogaming industry. I honestly can't fathom how Sony came up with that pricetag, but it certainly didn't come about from informed discussion or detailed research. No, I suspect the Magic 8-Ball on Ken Kutaragi's desk is to blame for this.

"Hey, should we sell those UMD movies at reasonable and enirely sane prices?"

*shakes vigorously*

"OUTLOOK GOOD"

"Uh...I'll take that as a no?"

Okay, so a UMD movie costs between 20 and 30 dollars. This concept could only possibly work if these extreme events were to suddenly occur:

(1) A mad scientist unleashes an army of insidious nano-bots that prey on hapless DVDs and completely destroy everything from Laurence of Arabia to Friends Seasons 1 through 10.

Probability: Un-bloody-likely.

A quick trip to Amazon reveals that the forthcoming 2-disc DVD of Brad Bird's post-Iron Giant masterpiece, The Incredibles, can be purchased for $17.99. Residing on pristine DVD, the film will boast 5.1 surround sound, crystal clear video clarity and several hours worth of behind-the-scenes footage. When we compare this to a UMD, which has inferior capabilities and no extras worth mentioning, we discover that it's an unfair comparison and Sony's pint-sized disc is way out of its league.

(2) Studios release several irrefutably amazing and mesmerizing films exclusively on UMD.

Probability: Laughable.

It would be corporate insanity for a studio to ignore the much larger DVD market in order to release a film exclusively on UMD, so you can rest assured that if a movie finds its drunken way onto UMD, it will have come from a superior DVD version. Sony's own attempts to spruce up the UMD movie list have been embarassingly poor, what with their choices of such instant classics as XXX, Once Upon a Time In Mexico, Hellboy and Resident Evil: Apocalypse (haha). The inclusion of House of Flying Daggers is more sensible, but that choice quickly succumbs to the "why don't I just get the DVD?" argument.

(3) The world's population is inexplicably reduced to a bunch of quivering consumer zombies and become unable to discern between getting their money's worth and being ripped off.

Probability: Frighteningly likely...if it hasn't happened already.

Let's face it, you'd have to be an imbecile of epic proportions to pay $30 for a UMD movie. It's an inferior format for film, it's only viewable on a comparitively tiny screen and the selection of films is, at the moment, spectacularly inept.

What's truly disturbing, however, is that many people ARE imbeciles. Those six million people that bought Enter the Matrix and blissfully ignored Beyond Good & Evil? I'm talking about them. They'll happily buy UMD movies, thinking they're getting a great deal. What a sad state of affairs.

So, what I'm really trying to say is...Earth is doomed. Yeah.

15 Comments:

Blogger Rx King said...

Yeah?! Well, I heard UMD's can cure cancer.

Ok, they're ridiculous...who'm I kidding?

10:25 AM  
Blogger Kaleb said...

Sony needs to learn that unless the concentrate on making a game system, they won't succeed in the handheld arena. That said, when the PSP will only have the battery power to last for two hours, if you had a copy of LOTR's, you couldn't even watch it in one sitting unless you had a power plug.

Who at Sony decided that it is okay to release a handheld device with a crappy battery life anyway?

But while they were making bad decisions, they decided to charge up to 30 bucks for a UMD move and up to 40 to 50 bucks for a PSP game!

I think the hardware is great and it has lots of promise. I am just worried about a few key areas.

http://www.cv-games.com

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