Sony's Universal Media Disc Format Lays an Egg

Sony PSP games and movies are released on Universal Media Disc format, but the name's a joke. No other devices support the format, Sony won't support burners or third-party efforts to open it up, and Brian Carnell passes along the news that movie studios have now cut back or abandoned UMD releases:

It's hard to see why UMD failed.

The movies were expensive -- $20 to $25 per movie.

The PSP couldn't be connected to a television and there were no standalone UMD players.

The failure should make UMD movies dirt cheap on eBay as Wal-Mart and other large retailers dump their inventory.

I've been interested in failed media formats since discovering and Bruce Sterling's Dead Media Manifesto, a rumination on the implications for a society that pours so much creative energy into formats that will be lost to the future when there's no devices left to support them.

How long will it be before the much-touted World Wide Web interface is itself a dead medium? And what will become of all those billions of thoughts, words, images and expressions poured onto the Internet? Won't they vanish just like the vile lacquered smoke from a burning pile of junked Victrolas?


And the downside is??

Hey, it's Sony, what do you expect?

Well we all know about Sony when it comes to formats, they always have a new one and nobody likes it. Beta, Minidisk, memory stick and now UMD. I think UMD might have had a shot if sony at least started throwing a slot on each of their DVD players so I could watch it on a real tv. Hell even made the psp hook up to a tv would have been better than nothing.

I do not know why they are investing so much in these formats anyway, HD-DVD and Blu-ray should have very short lives if someone gets off their ass and releases a decent content delivery service. VOD, internet based distribution, hell even services where you take your media player to a store and download it directly are in place and growing. Only a matter of time until they become mainstream.

Andreas Bovens also recently thought about why UMD had failed.

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