How to fix “The game could not be started” error on modified Sony PSP

I almost had a heart attack yesterday. I got myself a copy of Dissidia: Final Fantasy U.S. version, but it wouldn’t run on my PSP. My modified PSP was only running 4.01 M33-2. Apparently, Dissidia needs 5.00 firmware or higher to run.

Thus, I tasked myself with I upgrading the custom firmware on my Sony PSP, going from Dark Alex’s 4.01 M33-2 to Team33′s 5.00 M33-6. I did everything written in the instructions. I copied the 5.00 M33-6 updater to my /PSP/GAME directory. Since I was upgrading to 5.00 firmware I copied the official Sony PSP 5.00 firmware as well.

The firmware installation went smoothly. At the end of the update it gave me a confirmation message then did a reset. After resetting I went to System Information and it shows that I was able to successfully upgrade to 5.00 M33-6.

Ok, time to play! To my horror, none of my ISO / CSO games would run. Whenever I tried to load a game I would get kicked back to the XMB with the following message:

Sony PSP Dark Alex CFW :The game could not be started

The game could not be started. (80020321)


I almost panicked. Did I send up with a semi-bicked PSP? I thought of re-flashing my firmware or downgrading back to 4.01. I tried doing a search, and although I did not find the exact solution I was looking for, I saw some posts that led me to recall that there is a “UMD Mode” setting in the recovery menu. Here is what I did:

  1. Turn off the the PSP by holding the power button for 3 seconds
  2. Power up the PSP while holding the R trigger to go into recovery mode
  3. Open up the confiugration settings and locate the UMD Mode setting
  4. Change the setting from Normal to m33 driver – no UMD
  5. Exit recovery mode

I fired up my games and they started working again. Even better, Dissidia: Final Fantasy was running like a charm. I am one happy camper.

By the way, in case you are afraid you might mess something up by going to the recovery console, there is an easier way to change the UMD Mode setting through the XMB menu. The steps below will show you how do the alternate method:

  1. From the XMB menu, press the Select button
  2. Scroll down to UMD ISO Mode
  3. Change the setting to m33 driver – no UMD
  4. Press the Select button again to exit the menu

Viola! You can now play ISO and CSO games again.

Let me know if it works for you.