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Sony PSP 2 out this year, abandoning UMD?

Sony is rumoured to be developing the PSP 2 for release possibly as early as autumn of this year, and it may abolish the UMD format in favour of digital downloads

Sony is rumoured to be developing a radically revamped PlayStation Portable -- possibly for release as early as autumn of this year, and it may abolish the UMD format in favour of digital downloads and computer-based side-loading.

Games blog Kotaku spoke to the chief creative officer at Acclaim, David Perry (no relation to the pop-star idiot, we hope), after he hinted at the PSP 2 in a Facebook status message.

"I spoke to a developer who is working on it right now," Perry told Kotaku. "I know this developer is already working on it, so that means they have a prototype. That would sound like [an autumn] release to me."

Perry's speculation that Sony intends to adopt digital-only distribution for the PSP 2 highlights Apple's impressive momentum in the portable gaming market with its App Store games for the iPod touch and iPhone.

But further questions should be raised: would the PSP 2 incorporate 3G technology or just Wi-Fi? Would it have to opt for a hard disk instead of flash storage to help cater for the large file sizes of games, considering a UMD can store 1.8GB of data?

What would you think to a PSP with download-only options for acquiring new games? Let us know in the comments below.

Image: Eric Jensen, via Kotaku