Sony's upcoming NGP has no UMD reader. It will, however, support at least a limited kind of backwards compatibility with the PSP through emulation. This method allows the NGP to support the library of PSP games available on the PlayStation Network.
Sony is also continuing to work with publishers in order to encourage them to make their older PSP games available on PSN. Moreover, Sony stated some past UMD games may see a re-release on the NGP's new-game media. Sony did also state, however, that due to rights and licensing issues it is possible that some PSP games will never see their way over to the NGP.
The NGP appears to be packing some serious power under its hood, so it is no surprise that it could handle PSP emulation. Sure, complete PSP backward compatibility would have been nice, but UMD did not exactly prove itself as a great media standard. The inclusion of a UMD drive on the NGP would likely make the device even larger, and spinning and playing UMD games would likely deplete the system's battery even faster.
It seems like Sony's approach to backwards compatibility with NGP is actually pretty close to its position with the current PS3 models available. If PS2 games are released on PSN the PS3 can certainly play them, and Sony has been re-releasing some enhanced PS2 games on Blu-ray discs. Perhaps they will take a similar approach with the NGP. Re-released versions of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and God of War: Ghost of Sparta that support the NGP's twin sticks and have updated PS3-eque graphics would be pretty awesome.
What do you think? Do you think publishers will take the time to release their old PSP games via the PlayStation Network if they are not already available? Do you think Sony's take on backwards compatibility is enough regarding the NGP and PSP? Are you still holding out for a UMD disc reader that could be used to transfer your PSP games to your NGP? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Sony's Next Generation Portable is expected to launch before the end of 2011 in at least some regions.