Will Sony's Next PSP Lose the UMD Drive?

Photograph: Rick Rizner
After the former COO of game developer Acclaim David Perry Twittered about the new PSP2 and its lack of a UMD drive, the Internet started paying attention to Sony's oft-forgotten game handheld. Perry wrote, "I hear Sony FINALLY has the PSP 2. And thank goodness, they've removed the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive. I'm excited!"

GameDaily BIZ followed up with Perry, who said he was tired of new PSP versions relegated to color changes and "baby steps." He then said he was "certain" the PSP2 would not have a UMD drive, but could not reveal his sources.

The PSP clearly needs to change. The UMD drive sucks battery, whirs noisily, and adds extra bulk to a device in an era where thinner is definitely better. If Sony eliminates the UMD drive, it could open the PSP2 to a new, wider audience, and perhaps gain momentum in the market. The buzz is that the PSP2 would be a fully digital, online device. Instead of purchasing all games at a store, users might be able to download games wirelessly, like the iPhone, and play them immediately.

However, once the UMD is gone, owners of the original iteration will be alienated: all of the movies and games already purchased would be rendered useless unless Sony develops a UMD add-on, which, in turn, would just put the bulk back to the machine.

There is clearly a push-and-pull to evolving electronics, and despite possibly angering every PSP1 owner, the digital online approach is definitely the way to go.

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