Firmware v3.10 impressions
The biggest new addition in this firmware is Facebook integration. We’ll be honest straight away and say that it isn’t that much of a major deal.
With this feature, you can ask your PS3 to display messages on your Facebook account when you synchronise your trophies, purchase something from the store, or do something in a game.
This functionality doesn’t really do a lot for gamers and even many Facebook addicts may dislike the idea of, what some may call, spam being left of their profile.
There is little advantage of this information on the site, especially since you can’t view someone’s full PSN profile outside of the PS3 system. We feel the addition is really for the benefit of Sony and developers as it is an easy and cheap way to promote the console and games.
It’s nothing like what is now available on the Xbox 360 which has a whole application dedicated to the social networking site: You are still forced to use the web browser to browse the site on the PS3, and although the web browser is slightly faster than before, it doesn’t match browsing the web on your PC.
In the future, we would like the option to see our Facebook friends’ PSN IDs on the cross media bar (XMB) if Sony wants to develop the integration further – with the option to opt out from your account details being visible from your friends of course.
Additionally, we think Twitter is more suited to this functionality anyway and it already works well with Uncharted 2.
Also included in v3.10 is an improved way to view your photos. Your pictures are now displayed like tiles when they are in folders and this means that you can see a lot more at the same time and there’s less screen space now being wasted. It’s something that many of us have been asking for, and would love to see added to the music section to help choose what tunes to play.
Gamers in countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Poland should be happy to hear that they can now easily watch catch-up television content online from some networks in their countries. This is similar to the iPlayer support in the UK which when selected opens a webpage on the internet browser.
The final major additions are improvements to the PSN profiles and friends list. v3.00 brought the addition of the ugly grey boxes around each friend on the XMB. Although Sony clearly wants to add trophy information on them one day, they currently serve little purpose.
However, this new firmware has removed the boxes from being visible from friends that are not currently highlighted, making the display a little more pleasant on the eyes. But users can now also change the colour of their own profile cards and this customisation will be reflected on other people’s friends lists – red seems to be a favourite!
Although it’s a simple modification, it is a very welcome one that makes your profile more personalisable and unique. In the future we want to see the support of game related textures so you can instantly show other people that you’re a football or Modern Warfare fan.
Little minor changes that you may not notice straight away include the addition of a prompt when a friend leaves a chatroom that you’re in, and the ability to edit your personal comment when on your profile screen – but Sony still need to increase the character limit for this!
Overall the significance of this update relies on the type of person you are. If you’re not interested in Facebook then this update will seem very minor but better than before nevertheless.
Here are some additional comments by three other staff:
I think 3.10 is absolutely awesome – if I could get my hands on it that is. Having left my PS3 bundled up securely back home like a hibernating cub while I travelled the world, I’m still, technically, on firmware 2.60. I’ve seen the footage of 3.00 while I was away, however, and I’m extremely thankful that I will now never actually experience what Sony did to the Friends list.
As for the lauded social angle, I’m on Facebook but I’ve “moved on” so to speak to Twitter. That said, I recognise that some people will find this feature useful. The potential for “Trophy Update Spam” is a bit worrying, though, as I’m sure a lot of people’s Facebook accounts will soon look like advertisements for various games along with their own penchant for trophy whoring.
All in all, I think it’s an interesting update and one I’m looking forward to actually downloading and experiencing in 15 days time.
3.10 is the update that I’ve been waiting for since the evil gray name bars appeared. Not only does the friendlist just look nicer now, but the colors are a neat addition. Since you can’t see all the name bars at once, the colors don’t become a mess of rainbows either. You can actually see the color around the avatar of all your friends, but it’s not annoying or overwhelming. As a person that has hundreds of pictures on my hard drive, the new photo set up is so much better. The pictures load up fast, and I can see so many more at once now due to the grid view – The days of endless scrolling appear to be over. Hopefully something similar can be done to the music section of the XMB.
As for the facebook integration… I’m sure my friends are already sick of seeing gaming related content there, but that’s not going to stop me from torturing them even more. The way purchased items look on the facebook page is actually sort of cool, but it’s a shame that it won’t display content downloaded previously. I do question why this functionality isn’t with twitter as well. This sort of pointless spam seems appropriate for that.
First impressions are meh for me. Sure, Facebook is nice to have but will it ever get used? Probably not (at least on my end). Compared to previous updates, this one does little for me and lacks anything significant. The only real improvement I see in 3.10 is the friends list and that is fantastic. I was surprised to see the amount of color choices available. Some can be a strain on the eyes though. It’s definitely much better than before. Other than that, nothing stands out.