Firmware 3.0 available right now
So what does the latest upgrade offer and, most importantly of all, do the battery meter and clock still clash on screen?
The biggest change you’ll see is on the XMB, which has been slightly redesigned and includes some nice new features in certain territories. For example, UK users will see a direct link to the BBC iPlayer from the TV icon, whereas some other countries will see a local ‘catch-up TV’ service instead.
The ‘What’s New’ feature that was discussed in Cologne also makes a debut appearance on the new XMB, purporting to always give the latest information on what is now available on your PS3.
You will also spot that brief description of each icon has been added, just in case you were wondering what they were for. You’ll also find changes to your Friends List which shows your friends in a slightly different way (each name now has a background, almost like a small trophy card per person) and messages will now be viewable from each of your friends’ respective profiles.
If there’s anything we’re not quite sure about with the new update it is the new Friends List and the larger fonts. There is also an effect we’d like to switch off, whereby the text that appears next to the selected icon stays visible, but non-selected icon text disappears after a few seconds.
But it is behind the XMB that the biggest visual change occurs with the new ‘dynamic backgrounds’ that fully animate on your screen. You will also find new ‘dynamic avatars’ available for the first time too. So far it looks like only the new ‘Original’ theme is available to highlight this feature, but we expect Thursday’s PS Store update will feature quite a few new dynamic themes to pick from.
In addition to the XMB, you can now select multiple audio outputs at once for those people that want to drive the sound out through more than once device at the same time.
During video playback, the right analogue stick can now be used to to play content in slow playback, fast reverse, and fast forward.
Remote Play seems to have gained a ‘manual’ set-up option for managing a PSP connection, and a new ‘status bar’ gives you, at the top of the screen, your user icon, a friend icon with the number of friends you have online next to it and a small message icon to let you know if you have any new messages. This new bar also delivers a scrolling ticker that features the latest news from PlayStation Network.
Of course, the killer feature is that when you press the PS button, the battery life indicator will no longer cover up the clock!
Sony have also added a handy shortcut icon to the PlayStation Store under both the Game and Video categories so you can access the latest content quickly and easily, and within the trophy list trophies can now be broken out into subcategories – base trophies and add-on trophies – that way, you can easily view the percentage of your base game trophy collection, and separately track your trophy progress in add-on packs.
This trophy enhancement seems to be developer specific and may take some time to filter through to your PS3 depending on how quickly the developers take advantage of the new branching.
So – that is all. Firmware 3.0 is one of the most comprehensive changes since the addition of trophies. The only thing left to mention is that the boot screen now includes the new Slim logo, regardless of whether you own a Slim or not – that’s progress staring you in the face right there, people.