A line of code discovered in the latest firmware update by homebrew ninja Dark_Alex hints at the potential for the PSP to load encrypted ISO images off a memory stick. This could pave the way for Sony to release a full digital download service for games, but might just as easily be something much less show stopping – it is all speculation for now.
Having said that, news that Dark_Alex hung up his homebrew kit for the last time yesterday does seem slightly coincidental, especially as E3 is just over one week away. We hate to get all 'there was no lunar landing' on you, but could it be that the prolific Mr Alex turned up something that Sony doesn't want anyone to know about quite yet?
Dark_Alex stated in his sign off:
I've decided to cease OE development, and leave PSP scene. The reasons are various. One of them is the time it consumes, which I'm losing from other things. The other is related to my security. I didn't like Sony menaces to PS3 hackers. I think it is better to leave now rather than end paying the consequences.The fearful (and somewhat ungrammatical) words of a marked man, or just a sign off from one who was reluctant to push his luck?
Either way, we think downloadable games would be a great addition to the PSP. And if a redesigned PSP with increased battery life does appear at E3, then you'd imagine Sony would be keen to keep existing PSP owners onside by providing a means of increasing battery life for the original unit.
We'd also expect digital distribution to feature in any such PSP redesign plans.
The problem for Sony is justifying a move towards digital distribution without appearing to do a U-turn on one of its long defended propriety formats. As the kings of gaming spin, we think Sony can pull it off; hopefully we will know more after E3.
In the meantime Pocket Gamer would like to say goodbye Dark_Alex, you will be missed.