Porn comes to Sony's PlayStation Portable

The first adult movies on UMD, the media format of the Sony PlayStation Portable, went on sale in Tokyo on Friday.

If you think Sony Computer Entertainment's PlayStation Portable is just for kids, think again. The first adult movies produced for viewing on the 7-month old gaming device went on sale in Japan on Friday.

Japanese adult movie maker Taisei put three titles on sale Friday on Universal Media Disc (UMD), the media format used in the PSP. UMDs are 60 millimeter diameter optical discs encased in cartridges, and can hold up to 1.8G bytes of data.

Taisei is targeting the movies, which are sold under its Glay'z label, at males in their 20s and 30s, said Makoto Kawata, who works in Taisei's marketing department in Tokyo. Such customers make up a large part of the PSP's user base. UMD customers are expected to be younger on average than DVD customers but that's because the DVD user base is so wide, he said.

Next week video production house HMP KK will also issue three titles on UMD, said Yumiko Okazaki, a spokeswoman for the Tokyo company. HMP is targeting a similar audience with its movies, which are new versions of existing movies reformatted for the PSP's widescreen display and with new menus for the device, she said.

Both companies are promising more releases throughout the rest of the year. Taisei will put on sale two more adult movies later this month and five titles in August on UMD, and HMP said there will be more coming in September.

The discs will only go on sale in Japan but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't work on foreign models of the PSP. HMP is not using a region code so its titles will work on all PSPs, while the Glay'z discs will carry region code 2, which covers Japan. HMP's discs are the cheapest of those announced so far, at YEN 1,995 (AU$24), while the Taisei titles will cost either YEN 2,940 or YEN 3,990.

Several English-language Web sites that specialise in shipping Japanese games or entertainment to the rest of the world are already offering the UMDs at slightly higher prices.

SCEI keeps tight control of game content for its consoles.

The PSP has a parental lock system on it and parents can set the unit to block certain content. "We do urge content makers to comply with the rating system," said Kato.

In addition, SCEI controls game content by requiring game developers to license its software. As a result, there's no adult software for any console in the PlayStation range.

However, no such license is required for video and audio discs, and SCEI said it has no control over video content published for the PSP.

"It's up to the content makers," said Nanako Kato, a spokeswoman for SCEI in Tokyo.

That's is important because SCEI's parent company Sony is trying to spread the UMD format beyond the PSP, and has said it hopes other devices, possibly from other companies, will adopt it. Regardless of the license, Sony could still control the content published on UMD if it wanted to: it has the only factory capable of making UMDs at present.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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