Only a short while ago, if you wanted to access the PlayStation Store and all the PSP games and other goodies that it offered for download, you had to use a PC or PS3 to get onto it, then transfer the downloaded content to your handheld.

No longer. With firmware 5.0, Sony gave us direct access to the PlayStation Store via our PSPs. So, provided you're in possession of everything you need, accessing the Store and downloading game couldn't be simpler.

Of course, as with everything, if you don't - or you just don't know what you're doing - it couldn't be more annoying. Which is where this guide comes in. Here's how you download games directly from the PlayStation Store to your PSP...

You'll need:

  • PSP - any of the different hardware versions (including the original 'fat' PSP) can be used to access the PlayStation Store
  • Firmware 5.0 (or higher)
  • Wireless internet connection
  • Memory card with sufficient space

Check you have the latest firmware
1. Only PSPs that have been updated with firmware 5.0 (or higher) are able to directly access the PlayStation Store. The quickest way to check this is by seeing if you have the PlayStation Network option on your PSP's menu screen (or the XMB as some like to call it).
2. Scroll all the way to the right on the menu screen and you should find the PlayStation Network icon. Pressing down on the D-pad brings up the Account Management and PlayStation Store shortcuts.
3. If the icon isn't there, you need to update your PSP's firmware. Simply select Settings | Network Update and provided you have a access to an internet connection, your PSP will download and update to the latest firmware.
4. Having troubles connecting to the internet? Then check out our How To on getting your PSP online.

Access the Shop
1. You'll be prompted for the email address and password you registered when you signed up for PlayStation network. If you haven't yet signed up, check out our How To on signing up the PlayStation Network.
2. On the shop screen, you can browse the content in several ways. The buttons down the left of the screen let you search the latest games and demos, search them all alphabetically or look at PSP or PSone classic games.
3. The Applications & Services tab lets you browse items such as map packs, the Videos section contains game trailers and other - mostly free - content such as making-of videos, and Other Media incorporates wallpapers and themes.

Choose your game
1. You can find out more about any game in the store by highlighting it and pressing X.
2. This will also tell you how much space you need on your memory stick to download it. You need about twice as much as the actual size of the game file to download.
3. If you've already purchased an item, it will have the red PlayStation shopping bag icon displayed on it.
4. Once you've picked your game, either choose Buy Now if that's all you want to purchase, or Add to Cart if you want to continue shopping.

Pay for your purchase
1. At the Cart screen, you'll be shown a list of the games you've chosen to buy.
2. You can delete them individually by highlighting one and pressing Square.
3. At the top of the screen, the amount of credit in your wallet is shown. Clearly, if you don't have enough cash in there to pay for your games, you'll have to top it up first.
4. Do this by selecting Add Funds. You'll then be asked to fill in your credit card details and choose how much money you want to transfer to your wallet.

Download your game
1. Once you've checked you've got the funds, click the Confirm Purchase button.
2. The money will be taken. You can either click the Download button now, or do it later by going to the store and selecting the View Downloads button in the top right. All your downloads are stored here, so if a download is interrupted, you can go here to start it again.
3. Your download will take a few minutes, depending on the file size. A percentage progress bar will be shown on the screen.
4. Once downloaded, the game will then automatically be stored on your PSP.

Play it!
1. You'll find your downloaded game back on the PSP menu screen (press the Home, or PlayStation button to get there).
2. Go to Game | Memory card then select your game.
3. Your game will be stored on your memory card, although if you lose it (or have any other problems) it will be stored in the View Downloads screen and can be downloaded again. Enjoy!