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Wednesday, July 02, 2008
New PS3 Firmware Enhances Community Features


Sony has announced details of PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) system software update 2.40, designed to enhance the way PS3 users play and interact with one another.

The 2.40 update will deliver XMB (XrossMediaBar) access in-game, enabling PS3 users to connect and communicate with other gamers and utilize other XMB features while playing most games.

In addition to being able to communicate with friends from within a game, PS3 users will also be able to earn Trophies following the 2.40 update. This new, integrated system enables gamers to tout their accomplishments via profiles, which also allow users to compare their skills to other members of the community. Firmware update 2.40 will be available on July 2.

XMB Access In-Game

XMB access in-game will enable gamers to interact with friends using messaging, view their friends? online status and profiles (including their Trophy collection), and add new friends they meet online to their Friends list ? all without interrupting the flow of gameplay. By pushing the PS button on the PS3 controller, the Home menu takes center stage over a game in progress. Depending on the game, XMB access will either automatically pause the game or it will continue to run in the background.

Beyond utilizing Friends list features, XMB access in-game will allow users to sign-in to PLAYSTATION Network, manage PLAYSTATION Store downloads, quit a game, and access various options within the Settings category. PS3 users can also quickly end their game and navigate directly to other PS3 system features by selecting to view content such as photos or videos stored on the system?s hard drive. XMB access ingame works with most existing PS3 games.

In addition, the 2.40 update lays the groundwork for gamers to customize their individual gaming experience by accessing the XMB during a game and selecting music stored on their PS3 system?s hard drive. Once a music file is played, users can access a control panel via the XMB that enables them to pause, stop, or repeat the track; go to a different track; or shuffle. The 2.40 update provides developers with the tools that will enable them to offer personalized background music as an option in their games, and the supporting titles are expected to be announced in the future.

Additionally, the firmware 2.40 update includes Google-powered Internet search functionality on the XMB, allowing users to input search terms and be directed to a search results page without having to first open the PS3 Internet browser. PSP system recently added similar Internet search functionality through a firmware update.

Trophies

Trophies offer a new way for gamers to showcase their gaming accomplishments. PS3 users can earn virtual trophies, which will be viewable on the XMB?s Game category under a new Trophy Collection icon, and will also be touted through individual profiles. These profiles will serve as virtual representations of PS3 users, allowing them to personalize their identities and display their gaming accomplishments within the PlayStation community. Gamers will be ranked on a Level basis depending on the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum trophies they earn across all games. They will also be able to see how much progress they have made toward the next Level, as well as compare their Trophies to friends.

Super Stardust HD, a PLAYSTATION Network-exclusive released in June 2007, will be the first game to leverage the Trophies system and will offer a variety of trophies.
v PS3 users can expect to see additional first and third-party games bringing Trophy support to their feature sets through 2008 and beyond.


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