GDC behind-closed-door briefings detailed PSPâ??s digital game rental service

Developers already briefed about PSP game rentals

News may have only broken last night that Sony is ‘considering’ PSP game renatals, but Develop can confirm that developers were briefed about the service as far back as March.

Sony was informing various studios of the new rental service at GDC, a source has told Develop, providing info and documents in closed-door meetings.

Reports suggesting the existence of a PSP rental service first surfaced on Joystiq, where the news site published a consumer questionnaire that had been sent out to various PSP owners. The survey attempts to gauge consumer interest on various subscription options for a games-on-demand service.

The survey’s foreword notes that “the service will enable you to download a fixed number of games during your subscription period”, adding that by the time of the service’s launch “there will be an extensive catalogue of games to chose from, with more titles added each month.”

Sony has of course made no official announcement about the service, nor has it made an official announcement about a UMD-less, PSN-focused successor to the PSP. Questions remain on what the company will be showing at the upcoming E3 event in Los Angeles.

Rumours of a new digital PSP model began in December last year, and have intensified since. A Twitter post from veteran developer David Perry in February said that Sony have “removed the stupid battery-sucking UMD disc drive” for the next model, while other developers have spoken of the handheld’s existence anonymously.

Certainly, Sony is keen to experiment in the digital space. Sony recently released the US edition of Patapon 2 as a digital-only title, handing out vouchers in retail outlets that allowed consumers to access the game via the PSN store.

At the time, SCEA’s Patrick Seybold stated that Sony was “considering a digital-only format for the Patapon 2 release as a one time test case as we continue to explore consumer preferences for digital content.”

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