Hackers have found evidence in the latest PSP firmware updates that points to the demise of Sony's UMD discs. The news continues the trail of breadcrumbs that may well lead to a redesigned PlayStation Portable 'Lite'.

Sony software intended for loading games not from the unpopular Universal Media Discs, but from ISO images on Memory Sticks has been found hidden and unused in firmware versions 3.50 and 3.51. As trivial as it may sound, this implies that Sony will soon make games available for download to run from the flash media.

No more hacking?

Until now, full-scale games have been able to run only from UMD. This has meant gamers need to either invalidate their PSP licences by hacking the firmware to read 'homebrew' games from Memory Stick or carry a pack of discs if they want to play multiple titles. Being able to fit several games on something like an 8GB Memory Stick obviously alters the scenario.

Most likely is an official service offering games for download, followed within a year or so by a smaller, lighter version of the PSP that has been shorn off the UMD drive. As ever, watch this space.