Next PSP, PS3 Firmware Updates Incoming

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SCEA has released word this morning that the next firmware updates for both PSP and PS3 will be released this month. Typically when Sony gives advanced notice like this the updates are released in short order, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are out by week’s end.

So what’s in the latest PlayStation updates? Quite a bit actually. PSP firmware v. 5.00 will finally add direct access to the PlayStation Store so you can download demos, games, trailers and other goodies right to the PSP without having to hassle with first connecting to a PC or PS3. Other updated features will include a full-size, QWERTY on-screen keyboard to make text entry and web browsing more intuitive, a sleep timer during music playback, and improvement to the PSP-2000’s video-out feature to enable classic PlayStation format titles to display at full-screen on a TV.

On the PS3 front, firmware v. 2.50 is set to introduce a wide range of minor enhancements, from advanced voice chat tech to go along with Sony’s official Bluetooth headset releasing this week with SOCOM: Confrontation, to the ability to capture your own in-game screenshots (in supported games), to various tweaks to improve the Trophy system interface, among other things.

Complete firmware update overviews are posted below, as provided by Sony. You can also find a detailed rundown over at the official PlayStation blog.

PSP Firmware 5.00 Update:

As demonstrated at the Tokyo Game Show last week, the PSP firmware 5.00 update will add direct PlayStation Store access to the system, eliminating the need for PSP to be connected to a PC or PS3 to download content. PSP owners will be able to download games, demos, trailers, and other game-related content anytime and anywhere that their PSP system is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. This functionality delivers on the portable promise of PSP, making the device even more compelling for gaming and entertainment on-the-go.

Additional enhancements delivered through PSP firmware 5.00 will include:

— On-screen keyboard — A full-size, QWERTY on-screen keyboard will be added to make text entry during Web browsing easier and more convenient.

— Sleep timer — During music playback, a sleep timer will enable users to shut off their PSP system after a specified amount of time.

— Video-out — The PSP-2000’s video-out feature will be able to display classic PlayStation(R) format titles at the full-screen size of the TV that the PSP is connected to; the feature also will support interlace displays.

PLAYSTATION 3 Firmware 2.50 Update:

Building upon the foundation set by previous firmware upgrades, the 2.50 system software update will refine existing features while also adding new functionality. The update will deliver exclusive options to support SCEA’s Official Bluetooth Headset, as previously announced, such as an on-screen indicator that shows volume, battery charge, and mute functions, as well as a High Quality (HQ) mode, which utilizes advanced wireless technologies and the Headset’s dual-microphone design to enable clear and wide-band wireless voice communication with PS3 system. HQ mode greatly improves the voice chat experience in multi-player titles such as SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation, which will be bundled with the Headset when it launches at retail this week.

To further strengthen the gameplay experience on PS3 system, the firmware update will add an in-game screenshot capture tool, laying the groundwork for developers to add capture and sharing options to their games and allowing players to immortalize their favorite gaming moments and share them with friends. Titles that support the feature are expected to be announced in the future.

The 2.50 update also will enhance the user interface for PlayStation Trophies. When players acquire a Trophy, the in-game notification will now include the specific Trophy icon created by the developer, while more intuitive options for comparing Trophies with friends have been added, including an icon to represent the Trophy level. The Trophy system will continue to expand through future firmware updates, catering to the PS3 community and the competitive nature of the more than 12 million registered PlayStation Network users worldwide.

Other new features delivered through PS3 firmware 2.50 will include:

— Video — A video scene search functionality will provide thumbnails to help you find a particular scene in a video more easily.

— Information Board — The Information Board will be able to include direct links to PlayStation Store, making it easier for PS3 owners to download content that they read about on the Information Board.

— Power save — PS3 owners will have the option to automatically shut-off their console or controllers after pre-selected periods of inactivity.

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!