Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) announced that the next system software update for PLAYSTATION 3, firmware version 2.00, will be available on Thursday, Nov. 8, and will add several features that enhance the user experience. Firmware 2.00 will deliver exciting new features such as Remote Start, which upgrades the Remote Play feature by enabling users to turn on a PS3 system remotely with their PSP from an Internet hotspot, and a new Information Board, where users will find the latest PlayStation news and updates in a scrolling window on the XMB (XrossMediaBar) menu screen. Other new features include the addition of custom themes that personalize the XMB interface, the ability to build music and photo playlists, and the creation of a PLAYSTATION®Network category on XMB.
“PLAYSTATION 3 is constantly evolving and this latest firmware is a great example of how we can make existing features such as Remote Play even more user-friendly. We’re also delivering entirely new offerings that increase our touchpoints with consumers through the new Information Board,” said Eric Lempel, director, PLAYSTATION Network Operations, SCEA. “These types of updates show the value of PS3 goes beyond your initial purchase, and we’re continuing to evaluate new technology upgrades and consumer interests to develop future firmware updates throughout PS3’s lifecycle.”
Since May 2007, the Remote Play feature has enabled users to stream photos, videos, and music stored on their PS3 hard drive or PC onto a PSP system, whenever their PSP system is connected to a wireless Internet access point (or hotspot). Consumers have also been able to use PS3 system as a gateway to remotely access media files stored on their PC with their PSP system, all through PS3’s Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) capability. Now users no longer have to leave their PS3 system on when they leave home, as the new firmware update adds Remote Start, allowing a PSP system to remotely turn on a PS3 system from a hotspot. Once they’re done using Remote Play, users can also turn off their PS3 with their PSP. This delivers greater flexibility to the Remote Play feature and makes accessing media files on-the-go easier than ever.
A new Information Board enables SCEA to communicate directly with PS3 users, delivering information to XMB on a regular basis about new content added to PLAYSTATION Store, software releases, hardware news, firmware details and other updates. The Information Board consists of a window on the upper right corner above the XMB that scrolls through the headlines of each item. Users can read the entire “story” or update by clicking on the Information Board icon under the Network category. Some Information Board updates will include a Web site link for more information, which the user can click on to view using PS3 system’s browser. Moving forward, the Information Board will be a valuable communications tool that allows SCEA to push real-time news and updates to PS3 owners. Users can turn the scrolling window on or off by clicking on the Information Board icon under the Network category and changing the setting.
Other Feature Upgrades
** Custom themes – Users can now personalize their XMB by choosing custom themes, which change wallpapers and icons at one time. A variety of themes will be available for download from PLAYSTATION Store and www.playstation.com, including themes related to specific titles or franchises. Users can also create their own themes and share them with their friends. Instructions on how to build personalized themes will be posted soon on the PlayStation website.
** Music and photo playlists – Users can now create playlists for photos and music stored on their PS3 system. This new feature makes it simple to create personalized soundtracks of favorite songs or share slideshows of favorite photos, all grouped according to the user’s preference.
** PLAYSTATION Network category – A PLAYSTATION Network category icon has been added to XMB, where users will now access PLAYSTATION Store and Account Management settings. PLAYSTATION Network continues to evolve and this dedicated category reflects SCEA’s focus on current PLAYSTATION Network offerings, primarily PLAYSTATION Store, and several new initiatives planned for the future. The current Network category icon will continue to include the Remote Play feature, Internet browser, Folding@home, and online instruction manuals.