Sony has confirmed that all future game releases on the PSP will be made available as downloads on its soon-to-be-released PSP Store.
The PSP Store will launch in Japan on 15 October, with SCEJ's Destroy All Heroes 2 the first title to be downloadable, with more to follow including Secret Agent Clank, LocoRoco 2 and Resistance: Retribution.
Sony is also set to introduce wireless Dualshock 3 support for the PSP, with Resistance: Retribution set to be the first title to support the feature.
Is this the beginning of the end for the much-maligned UMD format? While, officially at least, Sony remains committed to the format, it is surely only a matter of time before it is ditched.
"It's a logical and welcome move, but the tacit implication of this halfway-house UMD/download solution is that Sony are testing the water to see if they can ditch UMD altogether, and make forthcoming PSP iterations RAM only, like most other portable devices," thinks Dan Dawkins, editor of PSM3 magazine.
"UMD was hardly a soaring success as a movie platform, and with the volume of PSP game development drying up, it seems like an unlikely long-term commitment. DualShock 3 compatibility? Everyone's been banging on about PSP's rubbish controls for ages, but this is an odd fix, given that you'll either need to prop your PSP up on a stand, or run it through your TV – which, if you've got any other console, sort of defeats the point. If the downloads are fast, and available through PS3 too, this is all welcome news, mind."
TechRadar has contacted Sony for further information on when the PSP Store is set to launch in the UK and when the PSP Dualshock 3 support feature will be made available. Stay tuned for updates!