PSPs updated, LocoRoco demo out tomorrow

Sample of Sony's PSP platformer goes online tomorrow--but only for gamers running new PSP 2.7 OS; upgrade features Flash support.

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One upcoming quirky title that has piqued gamers' interests is LocoRoco, the puzzle-platformer featuring a too-cute orange blob and simple controls. Sony Computer Entertainment is developing the game internally, and has scheduled a Japanese launch date in July, with no firm date yet for a US launch.

Those who can't wait a few months to get their hands on LocoRoco's bouncing, rolling gameplay will be happy to know that as of tomorrow, they'll be able to download a demo from the game's Web site.

However, even though the download is free, it comes with a caveat: It will work only on PSPs running the latest operating system, version 2.70, which will be released tomorrow in Japan.

Sony says the latest iteration of the handheld's frequently hacked operating system adds a number of browser enhancements, including Flash compatibility and the ability to save audio content from RSS channels to a memory stick. The upgrade also fixes the problems that cropped up with earlier versions of the OS when using memory sticks larger than 2GB. Though it's not noted in Sony's specs, it's safe to assume that the upgrade also prevents the handheld from running home brewed software, or being put to other uses that Sony frowns upon.

The LocoRoco demo marks the first time that Sony has distributed PSP demos via PC download. Until now, the company has required its users to go to "PlayStation Spots" set up at retailers.

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