When you download games on a PSP, you don't have to worry about carrying around hundreds of PSP UMDs (Universal Media Discs). You are only limited by how much data your PSP memory stick can hold. Plus, by learning how to download games on a PSP, you get an opportunity to play innovative home brew games.
A thriving community of enthusiasts develops applications that can be run on Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP). These games, often referred to as "home brew," can be downloaded free.
Check to see if you have the right firmware. Firmware is the proprietary operating system the PSP requires for functioning. You need Firmware 1.0 or 1.5 to download free games on a PSP. These versions allow you to play PSP homebrews; later versions have protections that avoid use of non-commercial PSP games.
To check your PSP's firmware, press the PSP's "Home" button. Scroll down and select "Settings." From there, select "System Information." The firmware information can be found in the section where it says "System Software." If this section has the number 1.0 or 1.50, you'll be able to play PSP homebrews. If the number is higher, you won't be able to download free games on a PSP.
Format a PSP memory stick. The size of the memory stick doesn't matter since most PSP homebrews are relatively small. Insert the memory stick into the slot located on the left side of the PSP, where the directional buttons are. Pop open the cover and slide the memory stick in, making sure it's face up and follows the direction of the white arrow.
Press the "Home" button and go into the "Settings" section. Scroll down and select "Systems Settings." In the next screen, continue scrolling down until you can select "Format Memory Stick." The PSP will ask you if you want to format the memory stick. Answer "Yes," and the PSP will format the memory stick within just a few seconds.
Download free PSP games onto your computer. Sites like PSP Brew, UR PSP and PSP-Homebrew.eu contain tons of free PSP games. And the downloading process is pretty much the same. You either select an option to download, or you right-click on the file and use "Save As" for downloading. Visit the sites to gain a better understanding; links are provided at the end of this article.
Unzip the files. Usually, when you download free PSP games, you receive files in a compressed (or zipped), format. This allows a developer to send larger files without the hassle of breaking them up into pieces. However, before you can use these games, you will have to unzip them so you can have access to the individual files.
To unzip files, you need to use an unzipping utility. Windows comes with one, and it's relatively easy to use since you just select options from a Wizard. But if you prefer something more sophisticated, consider using WinZip, for the PC, or Stuffit, for Macs. Both of these programs can be downloaded free, though the legal version of WinZip only offers a 30-day trial. Either way, unzipping is as simple as selecting "Extract" and entering in the name of the file you want your games in.
Connect your PSP to the computer via a USB cable. Make sure you place the smaller end of the USB cable into your PSP. Place the larger end into any of the USB ports available on your computer.
Switch to USB mode. The PSP cannot communicate with your computer unless it is in USB mode. This is accomplished by pressing the "Home" button, scrolling towards "Settings" and then selecting "USB Connection."
Transfer the games onto your PSP. This step is the heart of downloading free games onto your PSP, and it is simple. With your PSP connected to your computer, take whatever games you plan on downloading and place them into the PSP > GAME folder. If this folder doesn't appear automatically, you can create one by "right-clicking" in the PSP directory and then entering in the name "Game."
Run the games you downloaded. After you have installed the desired games onto your PSP, disconnect the device from your computer. In the main menu, scroll to the "Game" section. Select the "Memory Stick" option. The PSP homebrews you downloaded will be contained here. Highlight one of them and press "X." Assuming the home brew is coded properly and you have the right firmware, it should run just like a commercial PSP game.
If you don't have the right firmware, your best bet is to buy an older PSP from sites like eBay. Make sure you ask the seller what type of firmware the PSP has, so you don't waste your money.
Some sites may allow you to download PSP firmware. Do not do this, as using hacked firmware is illegal, even if you're only using it to play PSP homebrews. And, if the firmware destroys your PSP, any warranties you have will be considered null and void. There is legal controversy over whether or not it's OK to play commercial PSP games without their original disks. In many jurisdictions, such an action is legal as long as you own the original PSP game.