A few months ago, in response to the fact that the Vita has no UMD drive, Sony made the surprising and highly controversial decision to charge Vita users varying sums of money (ranging from around $5 up to the ridiculous $30) in order to “transfer” their already-owned UMD games to the Vita’s internal memory. In reality it was just a game-specific discount through the PSN store, and it was a completely greedy solution, but at least we American PSP owners could still play our UMD-based games without having to use an actual PSP.
This was especially important considering there are some high-profile UMD games (like Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep) which lack a presence on the PSN store. Presumably, this transfer program (dubbed Passport) would have offered a work-around to that and other concerns.
But now, Americans are out of luck.
According to Kotaku, Sony has announced that the Passport program will not be available to North American gamers, presumably because Sony of America really, really hates their once-bragged-about UMD format. Or maybe even they were insulted by their own greediness. Or it brought back depressing memories of the PSPGo.
Regardless of the reason – backwards compatibility: you will be missed.
And Vita: you became just a little bit suckier.