It looks like the rumors of a UMD-less PSP2 just got a little stronger. Sony is testing Patapon 2 as a digital release. The retail copy of the game will merely be a voucher for the download.
"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 said. "The downloadable game will be available on May 5th at both retail and via the PlayStation Store. We remain focused on providing superior games and entertainment experiences in both the UMD and digital formats and are working closely with our partners to deliver the best PSP line up in our history."
The digital version of the game should clock in at $15 on the PlayStation Store, while the retail version could cost $20 to account for the packaging and (hopefully) manual.
Personally, I would love to see more digitally released games for the PSP, but I don't think Sony will be able to drop UMD for the PSP unless it's a new platform with completely different games. I can't imagine buying a new version of a console or handheld that didn't support its existing library of games. At the very least, they would need to create a solution to rip UMD's to an internal hard drive.
I'll be snagging Patapon 2 when it's released on May 5th. What about you?