Sony have released their latest firmware update for the PSP, and while v6.00 may look relatively innocuous at first glance, more careful reading of the changelist does suggest the company is paving the way for rental gaming. Among the tweaks, Sony list "games can now be grouped and displayed in folders based on their expire date"; however until now the company has only offered expiring video content, not gaming titles.
Full changelist after the cut
- Games can now be grouped and displayed in folders based on their expire date under [Game].
- Under [Settings], [Network Update] has been changed to [System Update]. Under [System Update], you can now choose how to update the system software.
- The number of colors that can be selected under [Settings] > [Theme Settings] has been increased.
- Revisions to strengthen security have been added. (Internet Browser)
The change lends further weight to ongoing rumors that Sony are planning a gaming rental service, which would allow users to download titles and play them for a certain period of time rather than buy them outright. Sony have already confirmed that they will offer "snackable" gaming downloads - with prices expected to start at just $1 - however the rentals system would possibly be for the more expensive full games up until now distributed on UMD.
Rumors earlier in the year tipped Sony as having been in talks since March with developers with regards their plans for gaming rentals, and an online questionnaire suggested that they were considering various weekly, monthly or yearly subscription rates. Sony have only told press that they will be making more use of digital distribution in future.