How to Fix a PSP That Won't Play UMD Games

by Stephen Lilley ; Updated September 22, 2017

Games designed for the Sony PSP come on a disc-based format called UMD. These UMD discs are about half the physical size of a regular CD or DVD disc. Games are inserted into the disc drive on the PSP and can be played using the onboard control buttons. If your PSP suddenly stops reading UMD games, there are a few things you can try to get everything working again.

Examine the bottom of your UMD game for signs of dust or scratches. Dust can be removed using a regular dry cloth. However, removing scratches requires the use of an external device like a Game Doctor or Skip Doctor -- both of which are available online and in electronics stores that sell video games. Removing dust and scratches allows the PSP to play the disc without error.

Ensure you are inserting the game disc into the PSP correctly. The side of the UMD that contains the label -- which typically is where the name of the game is located -- should be facing upwards, towards the user, upon insertion. The disc will insert the other way, but the PSP will not be able to access the data contained on the UMD to load the game.

Reboot your PSP. Press and hold the "Power" button until the unit completely powers down. This will bypass any "Standby" mode and will completely turn off the unit. Remove the battery from the PSP and let it sit for a few minutes -- typically no more than five. Put the battery back into the PSP and try to play your UMD disc again. This will clear any memory errors that were preventing the PSP from playing the disc.

Open the "Settings" menu on your PSP and update your PSP's firmware. This requires your PSP be connected to the Internet. If you have a computer, you can also download the PSP update from Sony's Website and transfer the file to the PSP using a flash card. Insert the flash card into the PSP and boot up the console to update the firmware. This will fix all issues that prevented the PSP from playing the game due to incompatible firmware.

About the Author

Stephen Lilley is a freelance writer who hopes to one day make a career writing for film and television. His articles have appeared on a variety of websites. Lilley holds a Bachelor of Arts in film and video production from the University of Toledo in Ohio.