Today Sony launched their new firmware version 2.40 for the PlayStation 3.
The new firmware comes with a number of additions, the largest 2 being in-game cross media bar (XMB) and trophies (the equivalent of xbox 360 achievements).
It’s hard for me to explain my experience with update, without a comparison to the Xbox 360, as so much of firmware 2.40 is Sony’s attempt to play catch up.
After spending some time with the new firmware I’m really not impressed by it. Almost every option of the in-game XMB requires you to exit before performing that task, which defeats the purpose of being able to do it, in-game! Probably the most effective use of XMB from within a game is to switch to another game, which removes the whole, exit out of existing game, then select and enter a new game process.
One of my major gripes with the PS3 is it’s inability to invite friends to games. I was seriously hoping the new firmware would add this functionality, sadly it does not. When your in a game, you can bring up your friends list (which takes forever) to do one of two things, either send the a text message or compare trophies. There’s no invite to current game or even the ability to see what game your friend is playing.
Another gripe I have is in relation to the music limitations. While you can now access music while playing the game, this is only supported by some games and only allows for music that’s located on the PS3. While the standard (out of-game) XMB allows for streaming music, the in-game does not, maybe it’s just me, but duplicating my music collection on the PS3 is not an option.
The trophy system right now is basically useless. Yes there is the menu item (under game) and yes I the space for this to grow in the future, but for right now, there are only a handful of games that support trophies, so expect it to be a few months before we start to see any usefulness. The trophies appear to be gold, silver or bronze, which I’m not sure will have the same effect of a specific score (up to 1000) for a game and total gamerscore like the Xbox 360.
Let’s hope Playstation are working some serious upgrades to the platform for firmware v3, that will not only equal the functionality of the Xbox 360, but surpass it and give Microsoft some work to do.
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