UMDs were clearly a dead format many years ago, regardless of your stance towards digital download content.
Paying a little extra for digital games this past few years has paid off though. While the Next Generation Portable will not support UMD playback, it will be backwards compatible for any original PSP titles purchased through the PlayStation Store. Give yourself a pat on the back if you predicted that about... Ooooh, two years ago.
While Sony does not have any plans to implement other methods to support backwards compatability — a "UMD reader" has long been touted — a PlayStation representative has told Gigazine that re-releases of original PSP games via NGP's new card storage format could be possible. We imagine this will probably happen in Japan, with minor upgrades added to super-popular PSP titles such as Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and, of course, Monster Hunter. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if they re-released Monster Hunter Portable 3rd with dual analogue stick controls as part of NGP's Japanese launch line-up. Money's being left on the table if they don't.