As the case for digital distribution strengthens, Sony Computer Entertainment America will be testing the market's waters with a digital-only release of Patapon 2
for PSP, the company has confirmed.
"We're 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," Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications at SCEA told Ars Technica
Sony says that it is still committed to the physical UMD format, but the PSP has already shown glimmers of potential for digital distribution. Most recently, the firm announced that Harmonix's Rock Band: Unplugged
for the handheld will boast an in-game online music store that connects to PlayStation network - a first for the PSP. The handheld already allows users to transfer data from the PS3, and download software directly to its Pro Duo cards.
Consumers will be able to buy Patapon 2
on May 5th from the online PlayStation Store, or via a voucher sold at retail.
Sony's "one time test case" gives more weight to persistent rumors of a UMD-free PSP hardware follow-up, which would purportedly rely on a digital distribution model.
Gamasutra's Matt Matthews foretold
such a digital strategy in December 2008, when Sony was already showing signs of exploring new distribution methods.