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Report: Game Rentals May Come to PSP

There's speculation that the new firmware released for Sony's PlayStation Portable handheld console hints to game rentals. Version 6.00 arrived yesterday without much fanfare, renaming "Network Update" to "System Update," adding a security patch, and throwing in a few new colors to the XMB. Again, the firmware update doesn't scream "install me now," however many users who actually installed the firmware have discovered a hidden Easter egg.

Or did they? Based on the new firmware, a new feature has been added, allowing games to be "grouped and displayed in folders based on their expire date." If the hint didn't catch on, digital rentals usually have an expiration date, and will not play once that date has been reached. Unless the consumer renews the rental, the file is unplayable and must be deleted from storage.

Obviously, this new feature points to an upcoming (possible) game rental service on the PSP. At this time, there's no official confirmation from Sony, but it may be that the rental service will roll out on the PlayStation Network when the PSPgo hits the market. With this feature already embedded into firmware 6.00, the service should also be compatible with current PSP models using large memory sticks.

Is a rental service for the PSP a good thing? Sure it is, especially for those gamers on the go who want to watch a good movie while lounging on the hammock, or to get a good taste of a new game before shelling out the big bucks. Perhaps the underdog of the current console market will finally get some of the spotlight next month.