If you’re reading this there is probably a decent chance you own a PSP. There is a smaller chance you own a UMD movie and lottery-like odds you have purchased more than five. Film companies and retailers aren’t happy.
Reading like a who’s who of Hollywood heavyweights, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has pulled the plug on any future UMD releases while Paramount Pictures is said to be ready to do the same. Image Entertainment walked away earlier last month and 20th Century Fox and Buena Vista have slashed release schedules.
In fact, even American uber-retailer Walmart (the personal plaything of Beelzebub himself on this our earthly plain) is claimed to be so unhappy with movies sales of the format that it has cut way back on all stock and will eventually drop out altogether later this year. An official statement from the chain that likes to destroy small towns has not been forthcoming but corporate spokesperson (and daughter of the fallen angel Azzazel) Jolanda Stewart refused to comment when US hacks pressed her on the issue late last week.
So UMD already looks set to be Sony’s second Betamax of the century with Minidisc currently in the middle of an arduous deathbed confession. The company will be miffed but in reality the writing has been on the wall for months for anyone who cared to read it. With Blu-ray set to launch in the second half of the year executives will be sweating on whether it completes an unenviable hat trick.